Viral throat infection affects everyone at some point of time. Fortunately, unlike bacterial throat infection, it is less severe and resolves on its own. Here is a quick read about this condition.
Did you know?
Throat infection is less commonly caused by the Streptococcus bacteria. Most people carry these bacteria in their throat but do not show any symptoms. Such people are known as asymptomatic carriers, and can make other people ill.
In most cases, sore throat is a viral infection of the throat. The infection causes inflammation of the pharynx, and that is why the condition is also known as pharyngitis. Less commonly, sore throat results from bacterial infection. Mostly, viral throat infection is caused by the same pathogens that cause common cold and flu. Viruses that cause measles, chickenpox, mononucleosis, croup, mumps, and cold sores may also cause the same.
Symptoms that Occur
You know you have a sore throat when you experience pain while swallowing. Sometimes the pain may aggravate so much that you may not be able to swallow even water. Other symptoms that may occur include:
» Irritation, scratchy sensation in the throat
» Hoarse voice
» Feeling of tightness in the neck
» Swollen areas in neck and jaw
» Red and inflamed uvula and areas of the oropharynx
» Dry throat
The causal pathogen of the infection may also trigger secondary symptoms such as:
» High fever
» Muscle ache
» Runny nose
What’s the Treatment?
Viral sore throat is self-resolving and does not need any treatment. The infection usually lasts for about a week. Antibiotics are of no help in this case, and taking these drugs unnecessarily may lead to unpleasant side effects and drug-induced allergic reactions. For symptomatic relief, here are a few self-care measures you can take at home.
✔ OTC medicines can be used to relieve throat pain. In children, however, these medicines must be used with caution.
✔ An age-old remedy to relieve throat irritation is saltwater gargle. Simply mix a teaspoon of common salt in 8 ounces of warm water and gargle several times a day. Do not swallow the solution but spit it out.
✔ Chew on a fresh piece of ginger and swallow the juice. This will help relieve the soreness and the discomfort. Ginger is more effective when taken with honey. Simply mash a piece of ginger and mix it with a teaspoon of honey.
✔ While you are recovering, have liquid foods. Warm broth and other warm beverages are soothing to the throat. Avoid caffeine-based drinks and dairy products.
✔ Smoking may severely aggravate throat infection and delay its recovery period. So avoid such irritants. Also, keep away from smoky, dusty places.
✔ Throat infection can make the throat and its surrounding areas severely dry, and this may worsen the problem. To deal with this symptom, help yourself with plenty of fluids including water throughout the day. Although there is no set limit to the amount of fluid one should drink in a day, 8 glasses is regarded as the minimum.
✔ During winter, indoor air becomes drier and this may worsen sore throat. To prevent this, you can use a cool-air humidifier to increase the moisture in the air. Alternatively, you can sit in your bathroom filled with steam. This method helps keep the throat moist.
✔ The combination of ginger and black pepper acts as a potent reliever for sore throat. Bring a cup of water to boil, add tea leaves, a little sugar, and freshly grounded black pepper and mashed ginger. Sipping this tea especially in the morning, helps suppress throat irritation.
Practicing good hygiene helps evade several ailments including throat infections. Before eating or after having used the toilet, always make a conscious effort to clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers is a smart choice when there is no scope of hand washing. Equally important is to cover your mouth while sneezing or coughing in order to prevent the infection from spreading to others.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.