When you were a child and had a sore throat, a sore throat lozenge could make everything well. But as you get older, your sore, scratchy throat can persist no matter how you treat it. When your sore throat is irritated as a result of an allergic reaction to airborne particles, treatment becomes a little more complicated.
Allergy as a Cause for Sore Throat
The main culprit in an allergy-induced sore throat is postnasal drip. As unpleasant as it may sound, postnasal drip occurs when congestion drains down an allergy sufferer’s throat, sometimes causing a tickling. That drainage can cause coughing, excess swallowing, and throat irritation.
How do you know if your sore throat is the result of allergies? Generally allergies are seasonal. Even if you experience symptoms year-round, your symptoms will worsen during seasons of high airborne irritants, like springtime. Allergy symptoms generally include congestion, sneezing, and coughing, but are not accompanied by fever and aches. If you have sore throat symptoms with fever and aches, it is likely the result of a virus, like a cold or flu.
Another way to differentiate between an allergy-induced sore throat and one that has been brought on by a virus is the scratchiness. Postnasal drip isn’t the only cause of a sore throat during allergies. Often particles will directly enter a person’s respiratory system, also causing that scratchy feeling, in addition to the “raw” feeling that results from drainage.
Treating an Allergy-Induced Sore Throat
Obviously, one of the most important things to do when you’re experiencing a sore throat is to treat the cause of the problem. The first step is to remove yourself from the irritants as much as possible. If cigarette smoke is a problem for you, avoid inhaling it. Try to protect yourself from airborne allergies during the worst times of the year. If you need to be outside, masks are available that can help protect your airways.
Over-the-counter remedies like Claritin can be taken daily during the worst times of the year to alleviate allergy symptoms. Your doctor can prescribe a medication that might be covered by your medical insurance, should you be required to take these long-term.
A physician can perform allergy tests that will tell you exactly what your specific allergies are. This can not only help you avoid those allergens, but a special dosage can be prepared for you that will, over time, reduce your body’s reaction to them. These allergy shots can help you live a mostly symptom-free life.
Natural Remedies for Allergy-Induced Sore Throat
Natural remedies are also popular to soothe sore throat symptoms. While these will not cure the postnasal drip causing the sore, scratchy feeling, it will provide temporary relief from symptoms.
Water is always recommended for any congestion problems. Not only does drinking plenty of fluids help thin the mucus, it also helps keep the throat moist. Dryness only exacerbates the problem.
Many choose comforting warm liquids, such as soups and hot teas. Stay away from caffeinated beverages when you have a sore throat, since caffeine can be an irritant. Gargling warm salt water can help soothe a sore throat.
Neti pots have become popular for sinus problems in recent years. Using a specially formulated salt water solution, you use the pot to pour water directly into your nasal cavity. This flushes out your sinuses and helps relieve congestion. Avoid overdoing the Neti pot, however—too much use can cause further problems.
While many allergy sufferers live with mild symptoms without seeking treatment, if your symptoms are disrupting your ability to live a comfortable life, your physician may be able to help you find comfort. If left unchecked, allergy symptoms can eventually lead to other complications, including sinus infections.
Generally speaking, none of these complications are dangerous to your overall health, but they can lead to time lost from work and a deterioration of your daily productivity. In addition to sore throat and congestion, you may be feeling an overall deterioration of your energy level that can affect your ability to be active.