The reddened lining of the throat, scratching and pain in the throat, difficulty swallowing, and fever are the typical symptoms of a sore throat. Often, as a sign of an alarming immune system, the lymph nodes in the lower jaw and neck are swollen. In the case of tonsillitis (the technical term is angina tonsillaris or tonsillitis), there are also swollen and reddened or even ulcerated tonsils. If the larynx or vocal cords are inflamed, there is also hoarseness.
A scratchy, swollen throat is often associated with a cold or flu. In many cases, there are also annoying swallowing difficulties and hoarseness. You can find out more about the causes and treatment of sore throats here.
It often begins with a scratchy throat or difficulty swallowing: sore throats announce themselves. Most often, a sore throat is a symptom of a cold, flu, or other respiratory infection. Typically, a sore throat will go away with the underlying viral infection. Antibiotics help if the cause of infection is bacterial, such as tonsillitis.
A sore throat can be a symptom of an isolated infection caused by a virus or bacteria. Most often, a sore throat is a symptom of a cold, flu, or other respiratory infection. The germs cause inflammation of the mucous membrane in the throat area. Depending on where the pathogens settle, a distinction is made between inflammation of the lining of the throat (pharyngitis), inflammation of the vocal cords or larynx (laryngitis), or tonsillitis or angina tonsillaris. Mixed forms also occur.
In addition to bacteria and viruses, sore throats can also be caused by overuse of the voice and irritation of the airways (for example from chemicals, tobacco smoke, or dust). Other diseases such as mumps, scarlet fever, or Pfeifferscher’s glandular fever also cause sore throats.
Sore throats also occur due to esophageal or stomach disorders. The backflow of stomach contents through the esophagus causes heartburn, which is often accompanied by a sore throat.
Causes Of A Sore Throat At A Glance
- Cold, flu, angina (tonsillitis)
- Overuse of the voice by singing, shouting, talking for a long time
- Irritation of the respiratory tract from chemicals, smoke, or dusty, dry air
- other diseases, e.g. glandular fever, pseudocroup, mumps, scarlet fever
- Heartburn from gastric acid reflux
- very rarely malignant tumors in the throat area.
Sore throats usually do not require medical attention. Exceptions: The symptoms are very severe, do not subside after a few days, there are breathing difficulties or there is a suspicion of tonsillitis or other diseases.
Treatment Of A Sore Throat At The Doctor
If a bacterial infection is causing a sore throat, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to fight the bacteria that cause disease. Antibiotics do not help with viral infections. Here the symptoms can be alleviated with home remedies and over-the-counter medicines.
Home Remedies For A Sore Throat
The following home remedies have proven to be particularly effective for helping yourself with a sore throat.
- drink a lot
- keep warm, especially your throat and chest, but do not sweat
- keep the room air moist in winter
- Avoid irritants, do not smoke
- Gargling or inhaling herbal ingredients from arnica, Icelandic moss, chamomile flowers, thyme, linden flowers or sage leaves.
Over-The-Counter Drugs For A Sore Throat
- Disinfecting gargle solutions, mouth sprays, or lozenges with active ingredients such as hexetidine or cetylpyridinium chloride have anti-inflammatory effects.
- In the case of slight reddening and pain, anti-inflammatory lozenges or rinsing solutions (e.g. chamomile or sage extracts for rinsing, tablets containing dexpanthenol for sucking) are effective.
- Lozenges or sprays with superficial anesthetics help with pain and difficulty swallowing.
- In the case of more severe pain, short-term anti-inflammatory pain pills for ingestion with acetylsalicylic acid, ibuprofen or paracetamol, which at the same time reduce fever, are useful.
- The local application of antibiotics usually does not make sense.
It is only possible to a limited extent to prevent a sore throat. Basically, the same recommendations apply that you can read under respiratory infections and colds.