Sore throat and hoarseness

Sore Throat and Hoarseness

Sore throat and hoarseness are very common signs of an illness or infection. A sore throat is an uncomfortable feeling in the throat that may cause pain, scratchiness or irritation. Hoarseness is an abnormal change in the voice caused by disturbances in the vocal cords.

Causes of Sore Throat and Hoarseness

The most common cause of a sore throat is a viral infection such as a cold or the flu. Bacterial infections such as strep throat or whooping cough can also cause sore throats. Some other causes of a sore throat include:

  • Acid reflux
  • Allergies
  • Dry air
  • Smoke and other irritants
  • Overusing the voice
  • Exposure to certain chemicals

Hoarseness can also be caused by a viral or bacterial infection, or by other factors such as overuse of the voice, allergies and some medications.

Symptoms of Sore Throat and Hoarseness

The most common symptoms of a sore throat and hoarseness are:

  • Pain or scratchiness in the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tickling sensation in the throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Hoarseness or a change in the voice

Treatment of Sore Throat and Hoarseness

The best way to treat a sore throat and hoarseness is to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help relieve symptoms. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection. It is important to get prompt treatment for bacterial infections as these can cause severe complications.

Throat sprays and lozenges may help to coat and soothe the throat. A cool mist humidifier may help to relieve a sore throat caused by dry air. For throat or vocal strain due to overuse, voice therapy or reducing the amount of vocal strain may help.