The monsoon season brings respite from the heat, but also leads to humidity. The sticky feeling is not the only discomfort one feels during monsoon season. It is common for people to experience sore throat and common allergy when it rains. People may experience intense pain and irritation in the throat, difficulty in swallowing, cough, lethargy and sometimes even fever. Let us find out the causes of sore throat and remedies for it.
The fluctuating weather conditions and the prevalence of viral and bacterial infections during monsoon make sore throat a common ailment, says Dr Manu S Babu, Assistant Professor and Consultant ENT, DPU Super Specialty Hospital, Pimpri, Pune.
Common causes of sore throat
There may be many reasons behind sore throat cases during monsoon.
1. Viral infections
This is by far the most common cause of a sore throat in the rainy season, Dr Mala Kaneria, Consultant, Infectious Diseases, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai, tells Health Shots. Common cold or flu, H1N1 and H3N2 are the responsible viruses.
2. Bacterial infections
Streptococcal bacteria, responsible for strep throat, can thrive in the moist and humid environment of the monsoon season, causing severe sore throat symptoms.
There some diseases that are common in monsoon. Increased moisture in the air during the monsoon can also cause allergies, leading to throat irritation and soreness. This is worse in those who already have a history of allergies and in people with bronchial asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, notes Dr Kaneria.
4. Airborne irritants
Pollutants and allergens are often brought down to the ground during rainfall. All this leads to respiratory issues that can affect the throat.
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5. Acid reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease can worsen during monsoon due to dietary changes and increased intake of spicy, oily and fried foods. This can cause acid to irritate the throat lining, resulting in a sore throat, says Dr Babu.
These infections may take a turn for the worse in the elderly. Even those with underlying comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, liver, lung or kidney ailments need to be careful. As the infections can cause a lower respiratory tract infection or pneumonia, says Dr Kaneria.
Home remedies for sore throat treatment
If someone in your family develops a sore throat, several home remedies can help alleviate the discomfort. Here are some tips:
1. Gargle with warm saline water
This is the easiest way to get some relief if sore throat is causing discomfort. Just dissolve a teaspoon of salt in warm water and let your loved one gargle several times a day to relieve throat irritation.
2. Honey and warm water
Mix a tablespoon of honey in warm water or herbal tea and let your family member drink it to soothe the throat. Honey has antimicrobial properties that may help fight infections, says Dr Babu.
3. Stay hydrated
Make sure your loved one drinks warm fluids such as herbal tea, soups or warm water throughout the day to keep the throat moist and reduce discomfort.
4. Steam inhalation
Inhaling steam from warm water can help to soothe the throat and ease congestion, providing relief from sore throat symptoms.
5. Rest your voice
Straining your voice or speaking loudly should be avoided as this can further irritate the throat. Resting voice allows the throat to heal faster.
Tips to prevent sore throat
It may not always be possible to completely avoid a sore throat, but certain preventive measures can help reduce the risk. Here’s what to do:
• Be updated with immunity by eating nutritious food, staying hydrated and taking supplements wherever indicated.
• Maintain personal hygiene, including oral hygiene.
• Avoid getting wet in the rain.
• Avoid allergens and pollutants.
• Wear a mask if sick or when around people who are sick.
• Stay updated on vaccines (pneumococcal and influenza).
• Natural remedies like tulsi, ginger and honey may be used early too.
But if symptoms don’t resolve soon or worsen, it is better to check with a doctor.