A slight tickling in the throat, then scratching, the first signs of hoarseness, and soon you have a swollen feeling and pain when swallowing, talking, and breathing. Many people often struggle with a sore throat, especially during the wet and cold season.
Pharyngitis or pharyngitis is a defensive reaction of the body to too many pathogens. These could be viruses, bacteria, or harmful environmental substances. As a natural reaction, the mucous membranes in the throat are better supplied with blood so that the pathogens can be transported away more quickly. This causes redness and heat, and the tissue swells. This in turn creates pressure on certain nerve endings, and we experience this inflammatory reaction as a “sore throat”.
Usually, sore throats are harmless. After two to three days, an acute sore throat will peak and after a week it will go away. Depending on which area in the throat is inflamed, one speaks of
- inflammation of the pharynx,
- inflammation of the vocal cords or larynx,
- lateral cord angina (inflammation of the lymph vessels in the side of the pharynx)
- epiglottitis or
- inflammation of the windpipe.
However, if you take gentle countermeasures at the first signs, you can prevent the worst. Here are a few tips:
Humid room air: Avoid overheating the rooms. The temperature should not exceed 22 degrees. Moist room air is achieved by brief ventilation several times a day.
Take care of your voice: Overloading the voices through unusually loud or strenuous speech can irritate the mucous membrane of the throat. At the first signs of scratching and hoarseness, you should protect your voice if possible. Avoid sources of
infection: Avoid large crowds or people with a cold. To reduce exposure to pathogens, wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water.
Warmth: Keep the neck and chest area warm in particular. However, be careful not to sweat. Heat promotes blood flow, which allows antibodies to get to where they are needed on the body.
Blood circulation in the mucous membranes of the throat: A well-supplied airway mucous membrane helps against attacks by cold viruses. You can encourage this through hot baths with herbal additives such as peppermint or thyme, regular saunas, or regular exercise in the fresh air.
Avoid smoke: Smoking irritates the mucous membranes. Avoid active and passive smoking.
Drink a lot: In order to flush out the cold virus, it is important to drink a lot if you have a sore throat. Soothing drinks such as hot milk with honey or herbal teas (fennel, sage, thyme, mallow, ribwort, coltsfoot) are particularly effective.
Gargling: By gargling several times a day with a disinfecting solution, pathogens can be flushed out in the throat. An old home remedy is gargling with saltwater. The salt disinfects and relieves pain. If you gargle with herbal tea, you can increase the effect by gargling first and then simply swallowing the tea. So every area in the throat can be reached.
Inhale: Inhaling with added medicinal herbs such as chamomile, sage, thyme, aniseed or fennel loosens the mucus, as the area around the larynx is also easily reached. In addition to its expectorant effect, inhalation with salt water also clears the nose and sinuses.
Neck wrap: Moist wraps have a positive effect on the immune system and have an anti-inflammatory effect in diseases of the throat and pharynx. Warm wraps (36 – 37 degrees) are particularly effective for long-lasting sore throats. In the case of an acute sore throat, however, a cold compress should be applied.
Echinacea supplements: Echinacea should be taken preventively or at the first sign of a cold. Echinacea preparations specifically strengthen the immune system. Echinacea should not be taken for more than eight weeks, because it then has a weakening effect on the immune system.
However, if the symptoms do not get better after about three days and a high fever occurs, or there is a suspicion of tonsillitis, the doctor should be consulted to clarify the symptoms.