With cold and flu season approaching, you’ll most likely be experiencing some scratchiness in your throat for one reason or another. However, a sore throat can exist on its own and have many different causes and treatment options. For this reason, it’s helpful to read up on your options so you can find the right methods and diagnosis.
A sore throat can simply be the result of hoarseness or dryness from the change in weather, in which case some at-home methods work best to soothe it. The most important step is to rest your voice and throat, as well as take in lots of clear, warm fluids like tea or lemon water with honey. Ice chips can also be effective at taming irritation if hot drinks aren’t working. Also, be sure to try lozenges that contain soothing or numbing ingredients like menthol, and assess whether your bedroom or sleeping area might benefit from a humidifier or steamer. If this isn’t a possibility, a hot, steamy shower can be soothing. These methods can be effective on their own for a mild sore throat or as an accompaniment to cold or flu medicines.
For the cold or flu, medications can sometimes be the best way to mitigate a scratchy throat due to drainage of mucus and fluids in the body. If you’re also suffering from a cough or excessive sneezing, it’s important to find medications that also tackle those symptoms, since they can exacerbate an already-tender throat. Even if your sore throat is caused by hoarseness or dryness, it can still benefit from over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, which are common ingredients in cold and flu medications.
If your sore throat is severe and accompanied by swelling, trouble swallowing, or visible matter in the back of the throat, you’ll need to promptly see an ENT specialist. These are common signs that your sore throat is a symptom of more severe illnesses like strep throat or mononucleosis, which can require some medical treatments like antibiotics or a blood test. It’s also important to rule out any other causes like acid reflux or even tumors. If your sore throat doesn’t seem to be associated with any cold or flu symptoms, or extends past the normal timeframe of a cold or flu, you should also see an ENT specialist.
A sore throat can be miserable, but you’ve got options, so it’s important to know your symptoms and find treatment accordingly. Even if you’re unsure about the cause or severity of your sore throat, our ENT specialists can diagnose and recommend treatment options to make sure you’re comfortable. To schedule a consultation at our Denver, Lone Tree, or Castle Rock offices, fill out our online form or call.