During the Covid-19 padenic people have become more health conscious. While maintaining good hygiene keeps you away from microbes that could contaminate your system, a sore throat during this time could make you anxious due the fear of Covid-19.
Although there are other factors too, a sore throat is one of the common symptoms of coronavirus.
Thankfully, various private and government institutions are providing virtual care and you can consult a doctor through telemedicine in case you feel unhealthy.
A sore throat usually doesn’t imply anything serious, but still could be painful and irritating, and needs to be treated.
Natural remedies found in your kitchen could help in the treatment of sore throat and speed up the recovery time.
What is a Sore Throat?
A sore throat refers to an irritating or scratchy feeling in your throat, which could cause discomfort and pain. In severe cases it causes a burning pain when you swallow. Increased infection in your throat could also cause complications in your ear and lead to sinuses infections. Another complication linked with sore throat is abscess or formation of pus near tonsils, which could cause swelling and redness around the neck.
Reasons That Cause a Throat Sore
A sore throat could be due to allergies, such as mold, pollen or pet dander. Even indoor dryness could make your throat rough and scratchy. Although, mostly it is caused by seasonal flu or cold, a virus or infection can also cause sore throat, following could be linked to it:
Tonsillitis causes inflammation in the tonsils, located behind the throat. These oval shaped pads swell during the inflammation and also cause sore throats. Difficulty in swallowing and tender lymph nodes towards the sides are common characteristics of tonsillitis.
Mononucleosis, commonly referred to as mono is a communicable disease that can spread through saliva. Fever, swollen tonsils, headache and swollen spleen are some of the symptoms linked with it along with having a sore throat which is often confused with strep throat. It is also called kissing disease as it can spread through saliva but one could also get exposed through sneezing, cough or sharing of food.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that may be caused by the invasion of any disease causing agents. It can affect both children and adults and causes inflammation in the throat. Strep throat is often painful, especially when swallowing.
Smoking can cause chronic sore throat. Not just smoking, any kind of indoor pollution, chewing tobacco, and drinking alcohol regularly can lead to prolonged irritation in the throat and muscle strain, leading to an enduring sore throat.
You may experience a sore throat after a surgery involving anesthetic gases or drugs, as they can dry your throat. In certain cases these drugs could also damage vocal chords.
Symptoms of a Sore Throat
Depending upon the cause of your sore throat, your symptoms could vary. Most commonly you could notice the following symptoms,
- Swollen neck glands
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Skin Rashes
- Swollen or red tonsils
In some cases people may experience the following,
- Abdominal Pain
- Muscle Pain
- Nausea and vomiting (usually linked with children)
COVID-19 Symptoms VS Cold or Flu Symptoms
Anyone could get anxious to develop a sore throat or other flu symptoms during current times. But how to identify if it is due to Covid-19 or a seasonal flu?
Well, in simple terms , to rule out Covid-19, you need to get tested for it.
But, there are a few factors which can help you differentiate between these illness,
Coronavirus symptoms often develop over a few days. Most commonly a person experiences fatigue, fever and dry cough. Other symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, sore throat and loss of taste are less common.
Symptoms of season fly generally come suddenly. Although, flu shares a few symptoms with Covid-19, like, fever, cough and sore throat, other symptoms such as, body aches and headache are less common with this coronavirus.
Symptoms of the common cold also develop suddenly like Covid, however fevers are rare in this case. Common early symptoms of cold include, running or stuffy nose and sore throat.
Natural Remedies as Treatment For Sore Throat
If your sore throat is the result of a flu or any virus, you might have to visit a doctor if it goes bad. Your doctor would probably recommend you an antiviral medicine to inhibit the development of the pathogen causing it.
It usually goes away within a week-10 days but you must be extra cautious amidst a global pandemic.
However there are certain home remedies that could boost your immunity and help you in a speedy recovery.
Chamomile tea has been used as a remedy for treating a bad throat for ages. It has anti-inflammatory effects on our body and is a natural antioxidant.
Research showed that the medicinal effects of chamomile tea can help relieve the symptoms of cold and sore throat. Inhaling steam would be good to relieve cold, although for a sore throat drinking chamomile tea is beneficial. It’s astringent and anti-oxidant effect boosts our immune system and its anti-inflammatory effects can help our body to fight the invading viruses and germs.
Salt Water Gargles
Salt water gargles are perhaps the most common home remedy of a sore throat. They are as effective as easily available they are. Gargling with warm water and half a tablespoon of common salt can break down secretions and also kill the bacteria in the throat.
You can do warm water gargles 3-4 times a day for 2-3 days, after the first day you could notice the difference.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Antibacterial effects of apple cider assists our body in fighting various infections. Due to its acidic nature it helps to break down mucus in a sore throat and cease the bacteria from further spreading.
You can dilute 1-2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and gargle every 2 hours to treat your sore throat. Take a sip of the mix in between the gargling sessions and make sure to drink lots of water.
Honey is an effective household medicine for a sore throat. It’s best when mixed with tea but can be taken on its own too. This study suggests that honey is more effective than common cough suppressant syrups at controlling night time coughs.
Honey is also effective in healing wounds and could speed up your recovery.
Medical properties of marshmallow provide a soothing effect against the itching in an inflamed throat. It contains a mucus like compound that acts as a remedy for swollen neck glands.
You can just add a few pieces of dried root in boiling water and sip it like tea. Having 2-3 cups a day could relive your throat pain.
Although diabetic patients should consult their primary doctor before consuming marshmallow tea as it may cause a decrease in blood sugar level which could be unhealthy for them.