Celine was very excited to perform in their school’s musical competition. She has practiced her song piece several times in a day, became strict with her diet, and observed enough sleep. She did vocalization every morning. One day, when she wakes up, she felt sick. She was sneezing and feeling a little scratchy on her throat. She was anxious about her upcoming competition. She is suffering from a sore throat.
Why do people experience a sore throat?
A sore throat is caused by several factors: viral infection, bacterial infection, irritants, muscle strain, allergies, etc. Both of these factors will cause pain, irritation, and scratchiness of the throat, which usually worsens when you swallow, even when you only speak.
So, Celine wakes up one morning, and her throat is itchy, inflamed, and irritated.
It’s a sore throat, or is it something else? The signs and symptoms of a sore throat or scientifically called pharyngitis can easily be the beginnings of something more serious. A strep throat or a Streptococcal Pharyngitis is not just a simple sore throat, and strep bacteria cause it.
One fastest way to check it yourself is to grab a flashlight, look in the mirror, and open your mouth wide. If you can see white dots or patches in the back of your throat, and your tonsils are red and swollen, these could be signs of bacterial infection like strep throat or a viral infection like oral herpes or mononucleosis. Or might be tonsil stones, which are painful calcium deposits on your throat. (click here for more details)
You may feel uncomfortable and irritated when you have a drippy nose and a cough along with your sore throat, but it’s a bit good news for you since you’re less likely to have a severe infection. You might just have a common cold or a post-nasal drip. Colds can cause mild fever. However, if you have a fever reaching 101 F, and you have a sore throat, you might have a throat infection like strep. But it does not always raise the temperature of the body, so watch out for other symptoms.
A viral infection like cold or flu is the most common cause of sore throat, and it is just healing on its own. A sore throat caused by cold may be painful, but it usually goes away after a couple of days. Taking antibiotics won’t work at all because it only fights against bacteria and not with viruses, and there are risks to taking them when not needed and prescribed.
On the other hand, strep throat, which is a less common type of sore throat, is caused by bacteria that need antibiotics to prevent complications. This type of infection usually causes pain that does not get better unless treated. If you have a strep infection, it may hurt so much that you can barely swallow, and sometimes, it can cause nausea, loss of appetite, headaches, or stomach pain.
Either what kind of sore throat you have, you may relieve some pain through simple home remedies to make you feel better but not totally cure the sore throat.
If you need an excuse to eat ice cream, except for Celine’s case, as she is preparing herself for a singing competition, it is the best time to have some. The cold from the ice cream would have a numbing effect, and the creamy texture makes it easy to swallow. Aside from ice cream, you may try other soothing foods like milkshakes, gelatin, and hot soup. It is not the best time to eat crunchy, oily, or spicy foods.
Warm salt water is also helpful. Simply put a half teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water, allow it to dissolve, and then gargle and spit it out. It helps with swelling and easing that raw, scratchy feeling by keeping your throat moist.
You can also keep your itchy throat moist and reduce pain through the steam from a humidifier or vaporizer. Or on your sink with running hot water, lean on it and drape a towel to trap the heat, so the steam goes to your face, and you inhale it for a few minutes at 10 minutes maximum.
Since swallowing is painful, especially if you have a fever, you must stay hydrated by drinking beverages to soothe the pain on your throat. Warm water and tea are the best options and stay away from chocolaty and too many sweet drinks and even citrus juices because they may sting more your sore throat.