sore throats

With cozy winters come irritable throat problems as well. Nearly no one is spared from this problem. With catching a sore throat, cough problem is quite common during winters especially as respiratory diseases and infections are at their peak. So, here we will see the possible causes and treatments of a sore throat at night.

What is a sore throat?

We all know what a sore throat feels like. It’s scratchy, raw, feeling burns at the back of your throat which might get really hard to tolerate at night. Usually, sore throat resolves itself within a few days but if the symptoms get severe and last longer than usual, you must see a doctor immediately.

Symptoms of sore throat

Although symptoms of sore throat vary depending on the cause the generally felt and observed signs of a sore throat are:

Prominent causes of sore throat

  • Viral infection: 

Viruses are the most common cause of flu, cold or sore throat. Viral throat infections are often accompanied by other cold-related symptoms that may include a runny nose, red or watery eyes, sneezing.

  • Bacteria: 

The most common type of bacteria that can cause strep throat is Streptococcus Pyogenes. This type of bacteria is highly contagious. They can spread through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or food or drinks is shared.

Man suffering from sore throat

  • Other common causes of a sore throat are:

    • Irritants: Indoor and outdoor air pollution like tobacco smoke, some toxic fumes, chewing tobacco, drinking hard alcohol, spicy food can irritate your throat.
    • Allergies: Allergies of molds, pollen, and dust can cause a sore throat.
    • Dryness in the air: Dry air around your surroundings irritates your throat.
    • Breathing through your mouth: Due to nasal congestion, we sometimes tend to breathe through the mouth, which causes dryness and soreness in the throat along with irritation.
    • Muscle strain: sometimes we take exertion with a lot of talking and yelling which strains our throat causing it to pain with soreness.
    • GERD- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: GERD is a digestive disorder in which stomach acids back up into the food pipe causing heartburn and burning sensation in the throat. 
    • Tumors: Cancerous tumors of the mouth, throat, tongue or voice box can cause a sore throat.
    • HIV infection: A sore throat or such symptoms sometimes appear often and early if there is HIV infection.

Treatments and preventions

Here’s a list of certain preventive measures that could be helpful with sore throat:

  • Avoid Sharing

Sharing is caring. But not always. Not when you or someone else is infected as this is the most common cause of catching throat infections.

  • Avoid close contact

The people who are sick might have pathogens in the air around them when they sneeze or cough. That makes people quite vulnerable.

  • Clean regularly

The objects around us are mostly contaminated. You should regularly clean the most used objects with sanitizing cleanser to avoid any risk of infection.

  • Wash your hands/Use alcohol-based sanitizer 

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly after using toilets, sneezing, coughing or before eating. Use sanitizer when necessary.

  • Give rest to your throat

If you feel any trace of burning or soreness in the throat, do not talk much. Giving rest to the throat always helps to curb symptoms from aggravating.  (Also Read: 10 Natural Remedies for Sore Throat)

Woman with sore throat

  • Some age-old and proven home remedies to treat sore throat before sleeping are

    • Stay hydrated: As it would help your body to produce enough saliva for throat not to get dry and itchy.
    • Use a humidifier: Breathing moist air will help in soothing and relaxing your swollen tissues in the throat and nose.
    • Try a few drops of honey: Honey is the most natural antibiotic and soreness soothing agent for an irritated throat.
    • Sucking on a lozenge: Throat lozenge contains menthol which helps to numb your throat tissue and provide the ultimate relief from burning and painful sensations.
    • Gargle with salt water: Last but not the least- gargling with warm salt water is a prominent and very effective method from granny’s tips list. The salt helps relieve the discomfort and pain by pulling the mucus from the swollen tissue of the throat.

Take Away

These home remedies and preventive measures are primary improvement methods. If your sore throat gets worse and the pain aggravates after 4-5 days, you must see an ENT specialist as it might be bacterial which will need antibiotic medicines to get rid of the same. Follow the prescription strictly. Don’t stop taking prescribed medicines if the symptoms start diminishing. This might leave some bacteria behind to re-infect you.

Also Read: Dysphagia (Difficulty in swallowing): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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