Causes and Treatments of a Sore Throat

A dry scratchy sore throat is often the first sign that you have a dreaded cold coming on. It's thought that the symptoms start in this area because the virus infects the back of the nose. What starts off as a sore throat can become quite painful, red and inflamed, and the voice may also become affected – sounding husky, croaky or even squeaky. In some cases it can become hard and painful to talk.

While a sore throat is a common symptom of a cold there are two other infections you may wish to rule out.

  • Laryngitis, where the larynx (voicebox) becomes infected causing a hoarse voice
  • Tonsillitis, where the tonsils become inflamed either due to the viral infection or a bacterial infection. Common in children, the sore throat can feel worse when swallowing and there may be a high temperature, coughing and a headache. If such a sore throat doesn't improve, or worsens, over four days, see your GP.

Treating a sore throat associated with
a cold or flu

A sore throat can be soothed with medicated lozenges such as Strepsils or a hot drink - according to the Common Cold Research Centre hot drinks with slightly bitter flavours such as lemon and citric acid are particularly beneficial.

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