Chronic sore throat, or pharyngitis, is any irritation, itchiness, or pain in the throat that persists for more than three months. Typically, a sore throat is considered pain, even a slight irritation or itchiness in the throat can be uncomfortable enough that an individual could describe it as a sore throat.
In some cases, an individual thinks they have sore throat, when in reality they have dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing with no pain present. Other times, the pain or discomfort could be much lower in the respiratory tract, such as in the larynx, where it is considered a sore throat.
Causes and Symptoms of Chronic Sore Throat
A chronic sore throat can be caused by many different factors such as an infection, mechanical or chemical injuries, as well as other types of persistent inflammation. Figuring out what is causing your chronic sore throat depends on other signs and symptoms present, as well as your medical history. Your physician may wish to do some diagnostic testing, including x-rays of your neck, laryngoscopy, or a CT scan.
Other signs and symptoms present with a chronic sore throat could include the following:
- Voice changes- especially hoarseness
- Pain and difficulty swallowing
- Constant clearing of the throat and chronic coughing
Curing Your Chronic Sore Throat
If a sore throat does not get better on its own within two weeks, it is thought to be persistent or chronic. A sore throat can be quite irritating because you’re unable to eat and sometimes you can’t even speak. You may also be experiencing a fever and don’t want to do anything except lie down. However, have no worries, because with the proper treatment, you will be able to treat and cure your chronic sore throat.
Home Care/Natural Remedies
– Gargle- do not swallow- salt water to kill bacteria and relieve pain. To gargle saltwater, you will dissolve one teaspoon of sea salt in a glass of warm water. Take a large mouthful and gargle for thirty seconds to one minute- taking care to not swallow it. Gargle three times a day until your sore throat improves.
– Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. In some cases, chronic sore throat is caused from breathing in dry air, especially while sleeping. Run the humidifier throughout the night. Or, if you have a radiator in your room, you can achieve the same effect by placing a bowl of water under the radiator. If you want some more intensive treatment, place some hot water in a large bowl, add some honey and hold your face over the water, breathing deeply. Place a towel over your head so that the steam is kept in your face instead of getting out.
– Use throat lozenges to numb the pain of your sore throat. These contain local anesthetics and can be purchased at your local pharmacy or grocery store without a prescription. You can use these every three to four hours- make sure you move it around in your mouth to spread out the numbness evenly. Unless advised by your physician to do so, do not use these for more than five days in a row.
– When you’re trying to treat and cure a chronic sore throat, it is vital that you drink plenty of water to keep from becoming dehydrated. The water will help your throat to stay lubricated, which will prevent dryness and even more irritation. You should make sure that you’re drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water each day, and drink lots of hot liquids such as green and herbal tea, as well as plenty of fruits and veggies with high water content.
– It has been proven that chronic sore throats are much more common for smokers than for those that do not smoke. Therefore, if you want to treat and cure your sore throat, it is very important that you quit smoking. Of course, this isn’t an easy thing to do and will require lots of determination and willpower- but you can do it.
– Increase the amount of vitamin C in your daily diet to help boost your immune system. Men should have 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day and women should have 75 milligrams per day. You can increase your vitamin C intake by eating more of the foods that naturally contain it, such as citrus, red and green peppers, kiwis, tomatoes, and strawberries. Another option to increase your vitamin C intake is with supplements, which you can find in dissolvable tablets, chewable tablets, and pills.
– Know that there are certain foods and beverages that will aggravate a sore throat and you should avoid them as much as possible. These tend to cause inflammation and irritation and also cause an increase in the production of mucus. These foods include: dairy based foods with high fat, such as cheese, chocolate, and full-fat milk. Either cut them out completely, or at least switch over to a lower fat version of them. You should also avoid foods that have a high sugar content, because they tend to increase the amount of bacteria that are produced. These include things like desserts, juices made from concentrate, candy, and baked goods.
– Drinking hot, herbal tea is a great way to soothe your sore throat and to keep yourself hydrated. However, you should be aware that there are specific herbal tea that are especially beneficial when you’re trying to treat and cure a chronic sore throat because of their pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. These teas include:
Ginger: you can drink ginger tea alone, or with lemon, skim milk, or you can even add cinnamon. Adding a bit of honey to the tea can make it more soothing. You can purchase ginger tea leaves/bags or you can purchase fresh ginger root and make your own.
Lemon and honey: simply adding 1 teaspoon of honey and a small slice of lemon to a cup of hot water is extremely effective at offering relief for a sore throat. Lemon has high levels of vitamin C, and honey contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.