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Sore Throat

Sore Throat Overview

Patient Comments

Sore throats are usually named for the anatomical site affected.

  • Pharyngitis: The pharynx, the area of the throat directly behind the mouth and soft palate, is a common passageway for food, liquids, and air. Swallowing safely delivers solids and liquids to the stomach through the esophagus. Pharyngitis is pain and inflammation of the pharynx.
  • Tonsillitis: Tonsillitis typically involves inflammation of the tonsils (tonsils are located on either side of the base of the tongue).
  • Laryngitis: The larynx, the top portion of your windpipe (trachea), has an important gatekeeper function. It allows passage of air in and out of the lungs (through the trachea), but inhibits the entry of solids and liquids. Sound production at the vocal cords is an important side job of the larynx. Laryngitis is pain and inflammation of the larynx (often associated with a hoarse voice). Croup is a form of laryngitis in children (it tends to be associated with a seal barking-like cough and difficulty inhaling air).
  • Epiglottitis: Epiglottitis is a rare type of sore throat is inflammation of the epiglottis (a tall semitubular structure at the opening to the larynx separating it from the base of the tongue). This type of sore throat problem is most common in younger individuals, and is an emergency because the airway may quickly become blocked.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/13/2014

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Sore Throat:

Sore Throat (Pharyngitis) - Length Symptoms Lasted

How long did the symptoms of your sore throat (pharyngitis) last? Was there anything in particular that helped with pain/symptom relief?

Sore Throat - Experience

Please describe your experience with sore throat.

Sore Throat - Treatment

What treatment was effective for your sore throat?

Sore Throat Definition

Your throat is a tube that carries food to your esophagus and air to your windpipe and larynx. The technical name for throat is pharynx.

You can have a sore throat for many reasons. Often, colds and flu cause sore throats. Other causes can include:

  • Allergies
  • Mononucleosis
  • Smoking
  • Strep throat
  • Tonsillitis - an infection in the tonsils

Home remedy treatments for sore throats

Treatment depends on the cause. Some home remedies that may ease the pain of a sore throat include:

  • suck on lozenges, ice chips (do not give lozenges to young children),
  • sore throat sprays
  • drink lots of liquids,
  • gargling may ease the pain,
  • get plenty of rest,
  • use a clean humidifier or mist vaporizer,
  • avoid smoking, secondhand and thirdhand smoke, and
  • take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to relieve pain or fever (never give aspirin to children),

SOURCE: Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work. Sore Throat.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Pharyngitis »

Pharyngitis is a leading cause of pediatric ambulatory care visits.

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