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Sore Throat Problem, Symptom, Causes and Remedy

The pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often worsens while swallow is what is sore throat problem all about. It is due to the viral infection scientifically called as pharyngitides such as cold or flu. This infection generally resolves on its own.

Dr. Sangeeta Soi

The pain, scratchiness or irritation of the throat that often worsens while swallow is what is sore throat problem all about. It is due to the viral infection scientifically called as pharyngitides such as cold or flu. This infection generally resolves on its own. 

One of the less common types of throat problem is Strep throat (streptococcal infection), which is caused by bacteria, requires treatment with antibiotics to prevent complications. Other less common causes of sore throat might require more complex treatment. 

At home many remedies can be used to treat it. Below are mentioned 25 home remedies. Some of these may be familiar, like drinking warm liquids with honey and lemon or gargling with salt water. There are other extraordinary ways to treat the problem which can also be applied to get fast relief. These include roots and leaves like marshmallow slippery elm, or eating frozen foods. 


The sore throat can vary depending on the cause. Signs and symptoms might include: 

  • Pain or a scratchy sensation in the throat

  • Pain that worsens with swallowing or talking

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Sore, swollen glands in your neck or jaw

  • Swollen, red tonsils

  • White patches or pus on your tonsils

  • Hoarse or muffled voice

Common infections causing a sore throat might result in other signs and symptoms, including: 

  • Fever

  • Cough

  • Runny nose

  • Sneezing

  • Body aches

  • Headache

  • Nausea or vomiting


Viruses that cause the common cold and flu (influenza) also cause most sore throats. Less often, bacterial infections cause sore throats. 

Viral infections 

Viral illnesses that cause a sore throat include: 

  • Common cold

  • Flu (influenza)

  • Mononucleosis (mono)

  • Measles

  • Chickenpox

  • Croup — a common childhood illness characterized by a harsh, barking cough

Bacterial infections 

Sore throat can also be caused by bacterial infections. The most common is Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A streptococcus, which causes strep throat. 

Other causes 

Other causes of a sore throat include: 

  • Pet dander, molds, dust and pollen are the main allergens that  can cause a sore throat. The problem may be complicated by postnasal drip, which can irritate and inflame the throat.

  •  This can be one of the reason behind the problem as dry indoor air, especially when buildings are heated, can make your throat feel rough and scratchy, particularly in the morning when you wake up. Breathing through your mouth — often because of chronic nasal congestion — also can cause a dry, sore throat.

  •  Outdoor air pollution can cause ongoing throat irritation. Indoor pollution — tobacco smoke or chemicals — also can cause a chronic sore throat. Chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol and eating spicy foods also can irritate your throat.

  • Muscle strain.Talkingloudly or talking for longer durations can strain your muscles and can give you throat problem. 

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD is a digestive system disorder in which stomach acids or other contents of the stomach back up in the food pipe (esophagus). Other signs or symptoms may include heartburn, hoarseness, and regurgitation of stomach contents and the sensation of a lump in your throat.

  • HIV infection. A sore throat and other flu-like symptoms sometimes appear early after someone is infected with HIV. Also, someone who is HIV-positive might have a chronic or recurring sore throat due to a secondary infection, such as a fungal infection called oral thrush and cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, a common viral infection that can be serious in people with compromised immune systems.

  • Both oral thrush and CMV can occur in anyone, but they're more likely to cause a sore throat and other symptoms in people with weakened immune systems. 

  •  Cancerous tumors of the throat tongue or voice box (larynx) can cause a sore throat. Other signs or symptoms may include hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, noisy breathing, a lump in the neck, and blood in saliva or phlegm.

Rarely, an infected area of tissue (abscess) in the throat causes a sore throat. Another rare cause of a sore throat is a condition that occurs when the small cartilage "lid" that covers the windpipe swells, blocking airflow (epiglottitis). Both causes can block the airway, creating a medical emergency. 

Risk factors 

Although anyone can get a sore throat, some factors make you more susceptible, including: 


  • Children and teens are most likely to develop sore throats. Children are also more likely to have strep throat, the most common bacterial infection associated with a sore throat.

  • Exposure to tobacco smoke. Smoking and secondhand smoke can irritate the throat. The use of tobacco products also increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, throat and voice box.

  •  Seasonal allergies or ongoing allergic reactions to dust, molds or pet dander, make developing a sore throat more likely.

  • Exposure to chemical irritants. Particles in the air from burning fossil fuels and common household chemicals can cause throat irritation.

  • Chronic or frequent sinus infections. Drainage from your nose can irritate your throat or spread infection.

  • Close quarters. Viral and bacterial infections spread easily anywhere people gather, whether in child care centers, classrooms, offices or airplanes.

  • Weakened immunity. You're more susceptible to infections in general if your resistance is low. Common causes of lowered immunity include HIV, diabetes, treatment with steroids or chemotherapy drugs, stress, fatigue, and poor diet.


Practicing good hygiene and avoiding germs that cause them can reduce the chances of infections. One can follow these tips and teach children the same; 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after using the toilet, before eating, and after sneezing or coughing.

  • Avoid sharing food, drinking glasses or utensils.

  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away. When necessary, sneeze into your elbow.

  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers as an alternative to washing hands when soap and water aren't available.

  • Avoid touching public phones or drinking fountains with your mouth.

  • Regularly clean telephones, TV remotes and computer keyboards with sanitizing cleanser. When you travel, clean phones and remotes in your hotel room.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.


Apple cider vinegar 

The acidity in venegar can kill bacteria in the throat, and also coat and soothe a sore throat. It may also loosen phlegm that may be irritating the throat. Use as a gargle - mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 8 ounces of water. This also can be combined with 1 teaspoon of salt for a saltwater vinegar gargle (gargling with warm salt-water remedy). One can also add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of honey to your tea (see gargling with warm water remedy). 

Raw garlic 

The antiseptic properties of garlic may help relieve sore throat pain. When crushed, raw garlic releases a compound called allicin that has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. The best way to use garlic for sore throats is simply to chew on a raw clove, or take a slice and suck on it for 15 minutes. This may be hard for most people to handle. To make the raw garlic easier to ingest, you can mince it and add some honey or olive oil. Blend some with other veggies and make vegetable juice. Add it to a little salsa. The key is to eat it raw and as soon as possible after crushing for the allicin to be effective. 


There are studies that honey may help ease a cough, which can contribute to sore throat pain. Honey may be added to hot water or tea and lemon to help sooth a sore throat. Honey has some antibacterial properties and may help ease sore throat due to infection may help ease a cough, which can contribute to sore throat pain. It should not be given to children and toddlers under 1 year of age, as it may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores that may cause infantile botulism. 

Throat Coat tea 

Throat Coat is an herbal tea sold to provide sore throat relief. Throat Coat herbal tea contains licorice root, elm inner bark, marshmallow root, and licorice root aqueous dry extract and is sold to help relieve sore throat. Throat Coat is an herbal tea sold to provide sore throat relief A small study showed it helped reduce sore throat pain for 30 minutes after drinking it. 

Peppermint essential oil 

Drinking peppermint tea, or add some peppermint oil  to a diffuser, or rub some peppermint essential oil on the chest (it may need to be diluted if the oil is strong).Once again, this is not the candy, but the plant. The main component of peppermint is menthol, which is believed to act as a decongestant  by thinning mucus. Peppermint may soothe a sore throat, and ease a dry cough.  


Licorice root may also help loosen congestion and reduce inflammation, which can also help you feel better. You can gargle with it, chew a piece of licorice root, or drink licorice tea. Sorry , not the candy, but the herb. A 2009 study in the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia found a licorice gargle helped reduce post-operative sore throat pain. In addition to soothing a sore throat, it is believed that licorice root may also help loosen congestion and reduce inflammation, which can also help you feel better. You can gargle with it, chew a piece of licorice root, or drink licorice tea. 

Marshmallow root 

This is not the confection, but the herb. Like slippery elm, marshmallow root is a demulcent, and marshmallow root can soothe a sore throat by coating the irritated tissues of the throat. It may also loosen mucus and help with cough that may accompany or aggravate a sore throat. Marshmallow root may be taken as a tea. 

Slippery Elm 

Also known as Indian elm, moose elm, and sweet elm, slippery elm is believed to help coat the throat. It is considered a demulcent, which means it can help relieve irritation of the mucous membranes in the mouth by forming a protective film. Slippery elm can be particularly effective when used in a lozenge as it can help prolong the pain-relieving effects. It may also be taken as a tea. 


Acupuncture may help relieve sore throat pain; however, studies have shown mixed results. Practitioners claim there is a "sore throat" acupuncture point found on the hand that can provide fast relief from sore throat pain. 

Frozen foods 

Eating frozen foods such as popsicles or sorbet can help alleviate sore throat symptoms. The cold temperatures can help ease the pain of a sore throat quickly, and many of these frozen foods are softer and easier to swallow. Non-dairy frozen items are preferred because in some individuals dairy products can more mucous, which can further irritate the throat. If dairy products do not irritate your throat, try low-fat ice cream, without added chips, nuts, or chunks that could scratch and irritate your sore throat. 

Eat chicken soup 

Just like drinking hot tea, hot soup can be soothing on a sore throat and can help thin sinus mucus. Grandma was right on this one! It's warm and helps moisten the throat. It also helps keep you hydrated (but stick with low sodium soups) and according to a study in the Chest Journal, it may even contain anti-inflammatory substances that could help reduce cold symptoms. 

Warm saltwater gargle 

Gargling with saltwater is an easy and economical way to help cleanse the throat and loosen phlegm. Rinse the mouth with a warm saltwater gargle (1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water) and then spit it out. Don't swallow the salt, and don't use too much salt, as this could further dry out the sensitive throat membranes. 

Drink warm liquids 

  • Drinking warm liquids such as caffeine -free tea with lemon and honey, warm water with lemon and honey, or warm soup broth can be soothing on a sore throat.

  • Hot fluids also help thin sinus mucus, which allows for better drainage and decreased stuffiness, according to the American Osteopathic Association.

  • Warm beverages also help keep you hydrated, which is important when you are feeling sick.

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