The monsoon season brings respite from the heat, but also brings humidity. The sticky feeling is not the only discomfort felt during the monsoon. It is common for people to experience sore throats and common allergies when it rains. People may experience severe pain and irritation in the throat, difficulty swallowing, coughing, lethargy, and sometimes even fever. Let’s find out the causes of sore throat and the remedies.
Fluctuating weather conditions and the prevalence of viral and bacterial infections during the monsoon make sore throat a common disease, says Dr. Manu S Babu, Assistant Professor and ENT Consultant, DPU Super Specialty Hospital, Pimpri, Pune.
Common causes of sore throat
Cases of sore throat during monsoon can have many causes.
1. Viral infections
It is by far the most common cause of sore throats during the rainy season, Dr. Mala Kaneria, an infectious disease consultant at Jaslok Hospital and Research Center in Mumbai, tells Health Shots. Cold or flu, H1N1 and H3N2 are the viruses responsible.
2. Bacterial infections
Streptococcal bacteria, which cause strep throat, can thrive in the wet and humid environment of the monsoon season, causing severe sore throat symptoms.
Some diseases are common during the monsoon. The increase in air humidity during the monsoon can also cause allergies, leading to throat irritation and pain. It’s worse in those who already have a history of allergies and in people with bronchial asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Dr. Kaneria notes.
4. Airborne Irritants
Pollutants and allergens are often brought to the ground during rains. All of this leads to breathing problems that can affect the throat.
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5. Acid Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease can worsen during monsoons due to dietary changes and increased consumption of spicy, fatty and fried foods. This can cause irritation to the lining of the throat, leading to a sore throat, says Dr. Babu.
These infections can get worse in older people. Even those with underlying comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, liver, lung, or kidney disease need to be careful. As infections can cause a lower respiratory tract infection or pneumonia, says Dr. Kaneria.
home remedies for sore throat treatment
If someone in your family has a sore throat, several home remedies can help ease the discomfort. Here are a few tips:
1. Gargle with warm salt water
This is the easiest way to get some relief if the sore throat is causing discomfort. Simply 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 a family member drink it to soothe the throat. Honey has antimicrobial properties that can help fight infections, Dr. Babu says.
3. Stay hydrated
Make sure your loved one drinks hot liquids like herbal teas, 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 soothe the throat and relieve congestion, thereby relieving sore throat symptoms.
5. Rest your voice
You should avoid straining your voice or speaking loudly as this can further irritate your throat. The voice at rest allows the throat to heal faster.
Tips to prevent sore throat
It’s not always possible to completely avoid a sore throat, but certain preventative measures can help reduce the risk. Here’s what to do:
• Keep up to date with your immunity by eating nutritious foods, staying hydrated and taking supplements where indicated.
• Maintain personal hygiene, including oral hygiene.
• Avoid getting wet in the rain.
• Avoid allergens and pollutants.
• Wear a mask if you are sick or around sick people.
• Stay up to date on vaccines (pneumococcal and flu).
• Natural remedies like tulsi, ginger and honey can also be used early on.
But if the symptoms do not disappear quickly or worsen, it is better to consult a doctor.