Sore throat is a common problem. You most likely have gone through it and gone through several remedies by now, from hot soups to potent antibiotics, and wondered: do any of these really work?
What causes sore throats
The first (and most important) part of curing a medical condition is in knowing what caused it in the first place. In the case of a sore throat, it could be many things, and that is just with your “ordinary,” garden-variety condition. Severe throat problems are caused by a wide variety of things, some which are aggravated versions of the normal one.
Viruses and bacteria cause most sore throats. In fact, the common cold is one of the leading causes. These viral infections tend to cause an inflammation in the region of the throat, usually with the mucous membrane that covers it, like with the voice box. This inflammation makes it annoying as it usually makes it hard for you to swallow or speak. A virus usually causes tonsillitis, another common source of the condition, but bacteria from diseases like Strep throat can also cause the tonsils to become inflamed.
Injuries, environmental conditions and other problems with your body can also cause throat infection. Low humidity, smoking, air pollution and allergens in the air may cause inflammation of the throat. Stomach acid that backs up may also irritate the throat.
Severe ones may be aggravated versions of the above. There are rare cases, though, is caused by sexually transmitted diseases. Certain kinds of allergies can also cause severe cases of these throat infections.
Some cures for sore throats
Most cases of sore throat require little to no medication. Especially in viral or bacterial infections, the best solution would be to let it run its course. Home remedies like sufficient rest, drinking lots of water and gargling with salt water may be enough to deal with the condition.
Many non-prescription medicines are available to treat the condition. Cough drops and decongestants may help reduce the swelling in the mucous membrane lining the throat and deal with underlying causes like a runny nose from a bad cold.
One of the more popular non-prescription remedies are throat lozenges. These may deal with particular causes of throat problems, like analgesics for bacterial infections and soothing agents for the inflamed mucous membrane. Some lozenges may also treat certain cases of severe throat infection.
One kind of medication that should not be used, at least without a prescription, are antibiotics. Despite the bacterial nature of some cases of throat infections, do not automatically rely on antibiotics, especially in cases of severe ones. Not only will you suffer from the side effects of the drug, you will barely cure the condition (especially if the cause was viral) and you might kill off beneficial bacteria and help develop resistant strains of bacteria.