Soothing The Sore Throats Of Allergies
Itchy eyes and runny noses are par for the course during spring and fall for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. But if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night with a throat so sore you can hardly swallow, you might also be dealing with allergy symptoms.
Exposure to allergens causes your body to ramp up mucus production. For some people that causes a runny nose, but in others the extra mucus drains down the throat, a symptom called postnasal drip which can lead to a tickle in the throat or scratchy pain. Irritants that cause an allergic reaction can include pollen, cigarette smoke, dust mites or pet dander.
Sore throats caused by allergies can be painful. A few ways to help soothe them include: Avoid irritants. Limit your time outside as much as possible when pollen counts are high, stay away from second hand smoke and avoid coming into close contact with furry pets. Run a humidifier to keep the air moist in your home, especially in the bedroom while you sleep. Drink plenty of water to soothe your throat and stay hydrated. Use cough drops or hard candy to coat your throat and ease the pain. Over the counter pain relievers can help reduce inflammation, and antihistamines can help control the mucus production.
Here at Piedmont Ear, Nose and Throat Associates, our experienced medical staff can help isolate your symptoms and get you on the right course to feeling better in no time.
Questions? Contact us, or call 768-3361 today to schedule your appointment.
What Are Other Reasons For Sore Throat
Weve already common reasons for sore throats, including the flu, common cold, and strep. If none of these match how you are feeling, other reasons you may be having a sore throat include:
- Overusing your voice
- Smoking or secondhand smoke exposure
Avoiding these triggers is the best way to resolve your sore throat.
How To Treat An Allergy
No one really wants a sore throat to stick around. Annoying, irritating, and sometimes painful â getting rid of yours is the ideal goal. Thankfully, if your sore throat is caused by allergies, there are options to treat it.
Where possible, the most effective method is probably going to be to limit your exposure to allergens. If there are no allergens kicking around, thereâs nothing out there to cause a sore throat, right?
People with springtime allergies could be more likely to experience allergen-induced sore throats. During the height of allergy season, shutting your windows or wearing a mask could help reduce exposure. Avoiding other common allergens like cigarette smoke and pet dander may help too.
Of course, avoiding any and all contact with allergens might be a tall order. That’s where allergy treatments come in.
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Is It Allergies Or A Cold
Cold and allergy symptoms often overlap, so its easy to mistake cold symptoms for allergies, and vice versa. Understanding the cause of your symptoms helps you choose the right treatment. It also gives you a better picture of your overall health.
Clinicians use the 5 factors below to help distinguish between colds and allergies.
What Is The Treatment For Strep Throat
Strep throat is treated using antibiotics, which kill the bacteria causing the infection. Antibiotics are often taken as pills or given as a shot. Penicillin and amoxicillin are common antibiotics used to treat strep throat. Other antibiotics are prescribed for people who are allergic to penicillin.
Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for antibiotic use. Take all of the medication, even if you feel better. You should feel better within a day or two. A person with strep throat should stay home until 24 hours after starting the antibiotic.
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How To Treat A Sore Throat From Allergies
According to Dr. Burgert, you can treat allergy-induced sore throat with over-the counter-pain medication like Tylenol or Motrin. Even better, you can eliminate the cause of the sore throat with antihistamines like Zyrtec, Claritin, or Allegra. Steroid nasal sprays can also decrease the production of watery mucus but take a few days to start working.
As a natural treatment, allergy-prone children should reduce their exposure to the allergen as much as possible. For example, children allergic to pollen shouldn’t sleep with bedroom windows open during the pollen season, and they should shower before bedtime to remove as much pollen as possible. Similarly, children with allergies to dogs or cats should be kept away from these animals. Keeping hydrated and using high-efficiency particulate air filters may also help.
If your child has serious or prolonged allergy symptoms, talk with a doctor, who may diagnose allergies by examining your child and reviewing their symptoms and medical history. In some cases, the doctor will conduct blood or skin tests to make a diagnosis, and they might recommend prescription medication or treatment with allergy shots.
How To Prevent A Sore Throat From Allergies
To prevent a sore throat from allergies, youll want to take steps to limit your exposure to the substances you are allergic to.
Do your best to avoid known irritants, such as pet dander and cigarette smoke. If you have seasonal allergies hay fever caused by pollen when trees and flowers are in bloom, there are a few things you can do:
- Keep your doors and windows closed
- Wear a pollen mask outside during allergy season to protect yourself from airborne allergens
- Shower after coming in from outdoors
- Wash any clothing you wore outside
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When Its A Sore Throat
When its a sore throat caused by a cold virus, you will often have other cold symptoms that may include:
- Runny nose.
- Red or watery eyes.
You do not have a cough with strep. If youre coughing, that typically means no strep, says Daniel Allan, MD. Also, when you look in the throat of a person with a sore throat caused by a cold virus, you typically do not see pus or exudate in the back of the throat.
Colds usually take several days to develop and typically go away on their own within five to seven days, Dr. Allan says.
There is no cure for a sore throat caused by a cold virus, but you can do things to make yourself feel more comfortable: Drinking warm liquids, gargling with warm salt water, sucking on ice chips, or taking an over-the-counter medicine can provide relief for your symptoms.
You also can speed your recovery by getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids.
When To Seek Medical Help
Postnasal drip can be annoying, but it usually isn’t dangerous, as Harvard Medical School explains. However, there are some circumstances when you should seek medical help. See your doctor or dentist if your symptoms get worse or if they aren’t relieved by home remedies. You should also see your doctor if your sore throat is accompanied by other worrying symptoms, such as an unexplained fever or bloody mucus.
Allergy season has arrived, and while you may experience a sore throat from allergies, rest assured that there are many home remedies that can help to soothe your symptoms. If these home remedies aren’t enough, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.
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Can I Prevent Allergy Symptoms
If youre suffering from allergy symptoms you can try to limit your exposure to the allergens whenever possible. Some suggestions include:
- Stay away from cigarette smoke and pets
- If you have seasonal allergies, you can also keep your windows closed during the peak months when your symptoms flare-up
- If you do go outside, wear a mask to protect yourself
- Delegate allergy triggers such as mowing the grass
- Keep your home or office as clean as possible if you know dust mites are a problem
- If you have food allergies, avoid those foods
- Use over-the-counter allergy medications to help control your symptoms
- Use air conditioning in the car or home
- Use a dehumidifier to keep the indoor air dry in your house
- Select a high-efficiency filter for your HVAC unit and follow recommended maintenance to care for these units
- Clean your home with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter
There are all kinds of over-the-counter medications that you can try. They could potentially help for a time. Nonprescription medications could include:
- Antihistamines or decongestants
- Nasal sprays
- Saline or nasal irrigation
However, you cant always avoid or limit your exposure to the things that cause your allergies, such as pollen, pet dander, or mold. Over-the-counter medications may not alleviate your symptoms. Fortunately, your doctor can help with medications to alleviate your symptoms.
Remedies For A Sore Throat Caused By Allergies
Allergens cant always be avoided, and sometimes youll end up with a sore throat after exposure. Fortunately, there are home remedies you can try to soothe a sore throat caused by allergies:
- Stay hydrated. Keeping yourself well-hydrated can help thin out excess mucus.
- Drink hot liquids. Tea with honey and soup broths may soothe a sore throat.
- Use a humidifier. Keep a humidifier running in your home. You may wish to add essential oils for their potential therapeutic benefits. One study found that lavender essential oil prevents allergy-related inflammation and mucus production.
- Keep your head elevated. If your allergy-related sore throat and congestion are keeping you up at night, try propping your head up with extra pillows to prevent mucus from collecting in the back of your throat.
- Over-the-counter medications. There are many allergy medications available OTC, including antihistamines and decongestants. These are available in nasal spray, capsule, and liquid forms. Talk with your doctor about the most appropriate medication for your symptoms.
- Gargle with saltwater. Add ¼ to 12 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water to gargle as needed. This may reduce inflammation and swelling and remove mucus to relieve your sore throat.
- Throat lozenges. Sucking on soothing lozenges can provide fast relief from allergy-related sore throats caused by excess mucus and coughing.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Allergic Rhinitis
Hay fever symptoms can appear throughout the year. Outdoor allergies are worse in the spring, summer and early fall. In warm weather, weeds and flowers bloom, and pollen counts are higher. Indoor allergies, such as those that result from pet dander and dust mites, can get worse in winter because people spend more time indoors.
Symptoms of hay fever include:
- Nasal stuffiness , sneezing and runny nose.
- Itchy nose, throat and eyes.
- Headaches, sinus pain and dark circles under the eyes.
- Increased mucus in the nose and throat.
- Fatigue and malaise .
- Sore throat from mucus dripping down the throat .
- Wheezing, coughing and trouble breathing.
How Is A Sore Throat From Tonsillitis Treated
If the tonsillitis infection is bacterial like strep throat, then antibiotics are given. If the tonsillitis infection is viral, antibiotics will not help. The virus must run its course for the sore throat to resolve. For either type of throat infection, the following treatment measures may help:
- Getting plenty of rest
- Eating smooth, soothing foods like gelatin, ice cream, shakes, frozen desserts, and soup
- Avoiding crunchy or spicy foods
- Using a vaporizer
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, naproxen, or ibuprofen. Children should not take aspirin.
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How Can I Prevent Colds And Allergies
To avoid catching a virus and spreading colds:
- Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth, which are the areas of your body most vulnerable to germs.
To avoid seasonal allergies:
- Try to limit your contact with the allergens you react to.
- If your allergies bother you a lot, immunotherapy may help reduce or even completely prevent irritating symptoms.
Allergies Do Not Cause Fevers
People often wonder if allergies can cause a fever. The answer is no. Allergies cannot cause a fever, though you could have an allergy flare-up at the same time youre experiencing a fever from an infection. For example, since allergies tend to cause stuffy noses, theyre also considered risk factors for sinus infections. Sinus infections happen when mucus gets trapped in the sinuses, allowing bacteria or viruses to grow.
With a cold, your temperature can run warmer, but typically it will be less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
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How Can You Tell The Difference Between Allergies And A Cold
This time of year, its especially tough to tell what might be causing your sore throat: Is it allergies, a cold, or the flu? And as the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, continues to spread, its more difficult than everone of its symptoms is a scratchy throat. Both allergies and viral infections can cause symptoms like a sore throat, runny nose, headaches, and congestion. How can you tell whats actually making you feel crummy?
The way your symptoms appear is often a big clue: Colds tend to creep up slowly, while allergy symptoms usually flare up shortly after youre exposed to an allergen, per the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Meanwhile, if you start to notice itching, stuffiness, or an annoying tickle in the back of your throat after spending some time outside, youre probably dealing with allergies.
If your sore throat tends to get worse or makes it hard to swallow, or you develop a fever, chills, or body aches, youre probably dealing with a cold or infection, Dr. Mehdizadeh says. And if your allergy medications dont seem to be helping, thats also a sign your symptoms could be pointing to a cold, flu, COVID-19, or something else.
Unfortunately, they arent mutually exclusive: Colds and allergies can exist at the same time, Dr. Reisacher says. So if you cant figure out what youre dealing with, talk with your doctor.
Is My Sore Throat Allergies Or Covid
Sore throat can be a symptom of allergies or COVID-19, and it can be difficult to tell which one you have. Although symptoms of COVID-19 and allergies may overlap, key differences include the following:
- COVID-19 often causes a system-wide response, while allergies cause a localized response. For example, COVID-19 symptoms range from sore throat and fever to respiratory problems. However, allergy symptoms may be limited to the nose, throat, and eyes .
- Itchiness is a common symptom of allergies that is usually absent in the case of infections including COVID-19.
Understanding the difference between these two illnesses can help. However, it is best to contact your doctor to confirm a diagnosis.
Allergens And Their Effects
Postnasal drip is the main culprit in cases of allergy-induced sore throat.
Its the result of exposure to an allergen and occurs when congestion in the nose and sinuses drains down to the throat. This causes tickling or scratchy pain.
The drainage also can cause:
- runny nose
Scratchiness is another way to determine if you have an allergy-induced sore throat.
In addition to the raw feeling that results from postnasal drainage, particles that directly enter the respiratory system can cause an itchy or scratchy feeling.
How Can I Treat My Sore Throat And Get Rid Of A Sore Throat Quickly
First, if you have identified the underlying reason of the throat soreness consider treating that cause. For instance, if your sore/itchy throat is related to allergies, successfully managing your allergies well will both help reduce your allergy symptoms and help your throat feel better.
Although treating your sore throat will depend on the cause, there are a couple ways to treat sore throat pain and discomfort:
- Drink plenty of water, preferably warm
- Use a throat lozenge or cough drop to keep your throat moist
- Use a humidifier
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How To Know If A Sore Throat Is Caused By Allergy
Normally a sore throat can be caused by cold and many other factors. There is no major way to identify if a sore throat has been caused by an allergy. It all depends on the duration till which your ailment remains. This means that if you have a sore throat because of common cold and flu chances are that the symptoms will manifest in a day or two. Properly it would not take you more than ten days, and you should be back to normal life.
However, in case of a sore throat caused by allergy, your situation may be a little more serious. Allergies can be persistent and may extend for months in the end. Sometimes they may go on for a long time and subsequently end only to resurface after some months have passed away.
Another difference that is seen is in the colour of the mucous created. When a common cold strikes the mucus that is generated is yellow in colour and thick. However, if you are suffering from an allergy, then the mucus becomes clear and thin in texture. There is also a visible difference in the symptoms. Common cold and flu would include coughing and congestion in the chest. However, in case of an allergy, you might also have to experience runny eyes and sore throat and itchiness too.