Throat irritation

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Throat irritation can refer to a dry cough, a scratchy feeling at the back of the throat, a sensation of a lumpy feeling, something stuck at the back of the throat, or possibly a feeling of dust in the throat. The symptoms are unpleasant and usually temporary, but occasionally signifies a more serious health issue, such as laryngitis.

Contents

Common cold

Coronavirus disease 2019

Allergy

During the summer months, allergies are a common cause of throat irritation. Many individuals have allergies to pet dander, dust, mites, pollen and molds that can trigger an allergic reaction which present with runny nose, red eyes, congested nose and throat irritation. Often a dry cough may also be present. [1]

Laryngitis

It is inflammation of the voice box which can occur from overuse, irritation or an infection. Laryngitis can be a short term illness or a prolonged problem. The majority of cases of laryngitis are due to viral infections which only last a few days. Laryngitis is often a common complaint in individuals who sing. Opera singers or those who yell at sporting events strain the throat muscles and develop a case of laryngitis.

Pharyngitis

Viruses are common causes of the common cold. Less often, bacteria may also cause pharyngitis. Both of these organisms enter the body via the nose or mouth as aerosolized particles when someone sneezes or coughs. Because many germs are contagious, one can even acquire them from touching utensils, toys, personal care products or door knobs. The most common viruses that causes throat irritation include the common cold virus, influenza, infectious mononucleosis, measles and croup. Most bacteria and viruses usually induce throat irritation during the winter or autumn. [2]

Epiglottitis

It is a very serious disorder of the back of the throat near the windpipe. The most common cause of epiglottitis is an infection by the bacteria, H influenza. The condition may present all of a sudden with high fever, severe sore throat, difficult and painful swallowing, drooling saliva, hoarse voice, difficulty breathing and malaise. The condition is life-threatening and needs immediate hospitalization. Epiglottitis is treated with antibiotics. Routine vaccination has made epiglottitis very rare but it still does present in some children. Prompt diagnosis and treatment can be life saving.

Post-nasal drip

Also called rhinorrhea, is a very common medical disorder that occurs when the nasal tissues are congested and the excess fluid runs either at the back of the throat or out of the nose. Post-nasal drip can be caused by the common cold, allergies to dust, smoking, or pet dander. Even spicy foods can sometimes cause post-nasal drip. Runny nose is not life-threatening but can be uncomfortable and socially unacceptable. [3]

Strep throat

It is caused by bacteria which if untreated can lead to many other problems in the body. Strep throat is most common in childhood but can affect people of all ages. It may present with throat pain, difficulty swallowing, painful and swollen tonsils, fever, headache, skin rash and flu. The diagnosis of strep throat is straight forward and the treatment requires a course of penicillin. However, if the treatment is not adequate, rheumatic fever can occur with resultant damage to the heart valves. [4]

Acid reflux

This affliction is a common cause of throat irritation. Normally the stomach produces acid in the stomach which is neutralized in the small intestine. To prevent acid from flowing backwards, the lower part of the swallowing tube (esophagus) has a valve which closes after food passes through. In some individuals, this valve becomes incompetent and acid goes up into the esophagus. Reflux episodes often occur at night and one may develop a bitter taste in the mouth. The throat can be severely irritated when acid touches the vocal cords and can lead to spasms of coughing. To prevent throat irritation from reflux, one should lose weight, stop smoking, avoid coffee beverages and sleep with the head elevated. [5]

Post-viral cough

A post-viral cough is a lingering cough that follows a viral respiratory tract infection, such as a common cold or flu and lasting up to eight weeks. Post-viral cough is a clinically recognized condition represented within the European medical literature. Patients usually experience repeated episodes of post-viral cough. The heightened sensitivity in the respiratory tract is demonstrated by inhalation cough challenge

Cancer

Rarely persistent throat irritation and hoarseness may also be from a more serious disorder like cancer.


Diagnosis

The diagnosis of a throat irritation include a physical exam and throat culture.

Treatment

The majority of cases of throat irritation usually go away without any treatment. There is no real treatment for throat irritation from a virus. If you have difficulty swallowing then you should drink liquids, suck on lozenges, ice chips or mix salt with warm water to gargle. Bacterial infections generally require antibiotics. Home remedies for throat irritation include gargling with warm water twice a day, sipping honey and lemon mixture or sucking on medicated lozenges. If the cause is dry air, then one should humidify the home. Since smoke irritates the throat, stop smoking and avoid all fumes from chemicals, paints and volatile liquids. Rest your voice if you have been screaming or singing. If you have pharyngitis, avoid infecting others by covering your mouth when coughing and wear a mask. [6]

Related Research Articles

Scarlet fever Infectious disease

Scarlet fever is a disease resulting from a group A streptococcus infection, also known as Streptococcus pyogenes. The signs and symptoms include a sore throat, fever, headaches, swollen lymph nodes, and a characteristic rash. The rash is red and feels like sandpaper and the tongue may be red and bumpy. It most commonly affects children between five and 15 years of age.

Streptococcal pharyngitis

Streptococcal pharyngitis, also known as strep throat, is an infection of the back of the throat including the tonsils caused by group A streptococcus (GAS). Common symptoms include fever, sore throat, red tonsils, and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. A headache, and nausea or vomiting may also occur. Some develop a sandpaper-like rash which is known as scarlet fever. Symptoms typically begin one to three days after exposure and last seven to ten days.

Common cold Common viral infection of the upper respiratory tract

The common cold, also known simply as a cold, is a viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory tract that primarily affects the respiratory mucosa of the nose, throat, sinuses, and larynx. Signs and symptoms may appear less than two days after exposure to the virus. These may include coughing, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, headache, and fever. People usually recover in seven to ten days, but some symptoms may last up to three weeks. Occasionally, those with other health problems may develop pneumonia.

Cough Sudden expulsion of air from the lungs as a reflex to clear irritants

A cough is a sudden expulsion of air through the large breathing passages that can help clear them of fluids, irritants, foreign particles and microbes. As a protective reflex, coughing can be repetitive with the cough reflex following three phases: an inhalation, a forced exhalation against a closed glottis, and a violent release of air from the lungs following opening of the glottis, usually accompanied by a distinctive sound.

Esophagitis, also spelled oesophagitis, is a disease characterized by inflammation of the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube composed of a mucosal lining, and longitudinal and circular smooth muscle fibers. It connects the pharynx to the stomach; swallowed food and liquids normally pass through it.

Pharyngitis

Pharyngitis is inflammation of the back of the throat, known as the pharynx. It typically results in a sore throat and fever. Other symptoms may include a runny nose, cough, headache, difficulty swallowing, swollen lymph nodes, and a hoarse voice. Symptoms usually last 3–5 days. Complications can include sinusitis and acute otitis media. Pharyngitis is a type of upper respiratory tract infection.

Sore throat

Sore throat, also known as throat pain, is pain or irritation of the throat. Sore throat is usually caused by a viral infection or a group A streptococcus (GAS) bacterial infection. Other causes include pharyngitis, tonsillitis, or dehydration, which leads to the throat drying up. It can also result from trauma. The majority of sore throats are caused by a virus, for which antibiotics are not helpful. A strong association between antibiotic misuse and antibiotic resistance has been shown.

Mucus Secretion produced by mucous membranes

Mucus is a slippery aqueous secretion produced by, and covering, mucous membranes. It is typically produced from cells found in mucous glands, although it may also originate from mixed glands, which contain both serous and mucous cells. It is a viscous colloid containing inorganic salts, antimicrobial enzymes, immunoglobulins, and glycoproteins such as lactoferrin and mucins, which are produced by goblet cells in the mucous membranes and submucosal glands. Mucus serves to protect epithelial cells in the linings of the respiratory, digestive, and urogenital systems, and structures in the visual and auditory systems from pathogenic fungi, bacteria and viruses. Most of the mucus in the body is produced in the gastrointestinal tract.

Laryngitis

Laryngitis is inflammation of the larynx. Symptoms often include a hoarse voice and may include fever, cough, pain in the front of the neck, and trouble swallowing. Typically, these last under two weeks.

Rhinitis

Rhinitis, also known as coryza, is irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose. Common symptoms are a stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, and post-nasal drip.

Upper respiratory tract infection

An upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) is an illness caused by an acute infection, which involves the upper respiratory tract, including the nose, sinuses, pharynx, or larynx. This commonly includes nasal obstruction, sore throat, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis, otitis media, and the common cold. Most infections are viral in nature, and in other instances, the cause is bacterial. URTIs can also be fungal or helminthic in origin, but these are less common.

Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils in the upper part of the throat. Tonsillitis is a type of pharyngitis that typically comes on fast. Symptoms may include sore throat, fever, enlargement of the tonsils, trouble swallowing, and large lymph nodes around the neck. Complications include peritonsillar abscess.

Post-nasal drip

Post-nasal drip (PND), also known as upper airway cough syndrome (UACS), occurs when excessive mucus is produced by the nasal mucosa. The excess mucus accumulates in the back of the nose, and eventually in the throat once it drips down the back of the throat. It can be caused by rhinitis, sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or by a disorder of swallowing. Other causes can be allergy, cold, flu, and side effects from medications.

Rhinorrhea Type of medical symptom where the nasal cavity is filled with fluid mucus

Rhinorrhea or rhinorrhoea is the free discharge of a thin nasal mucus fluid. The condition, commonly known as a runny nose, occurs relatively frequently. Rhinorrhea is a common symptom of allergies or certain viral infections, such as the common cold. It can be a side effect of crying, exposure to cold temperatures, cocaine abuse, or withdrawal, such as from opioids like methadone. Treatment for rhinorrhea is not usually necessary, but there are a number of medical treatments and preventive techniques available.

Laryngospasm is an uncontrolled or involuntary muscular contraction (spasm) of the vocal folds. The condition typically lasts less than 60 seconds, but in some cases can last 20–30 minutes and causes a partial blocking of breathing in, while breathing out remains easier. It may be triggered when the vocal cords or the area of the trachea below the vocal folds detects the entry of water, mucus, blood, or other substance. It is characterized by stridor and/or retractions. Some people suffer from frequent laryngospasms, whether awake or asleep. In an ear, nose, and throat practice, it is typically seen in people who have silent reflux disease. It is also a well known, infrequent, but serious perioperative complication.

Respiratory tract infection Infectious disease affecting nose, throat and lungs

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are infectious diseases involving the respiratory tract. An infection of this type usually is further classified as an upper respiratory tract infection or a lower respiratory tract infection. Lower respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, tend to be far more severe than upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold.

A sinus is a sac or cavity in any organ or tissue, or an abnormal cavity or passage caused by the destruction of tissue. In common usage, "sinus" usually refers to the paranasal sinuses, which are air cavities in the cranial bones, especially those near the nose and connecting to it. Most individuals have four paired cavities located in the cranial bone or skull.

Adenoiditis

Adenoiditis is the inflammation of the adenoid tissue usually caused by an infection. Adenoiditis is treated using medication or surgical intervention.

Chronic cough is long-term coughing, sometimes defined as more than several weeks or months. The term can be used to describe the different causes related to coughing, the 3 main ones being; upper airway cough syndrome, asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease. It occurs in the upper airway of the respiratory system. Generally, a cough lasts around 1–2 weeks, however, chronic cough can persist for an extended period of time defined as 6 weeks or longer. People with chronic cough often experience more than one cause present. Due to the nature of the syndrome the treatments that are used are similar however there is a subsequent number of treatments available.

References

  1. Allergic Reaction Emedicine Health. Retrieved on 2010-02-05
  2. Pharyngitis Analysis American Academy of Family Physicians. Retrieved on 2010-02-05
  3. What is Post Nasal Drip Sinus Professionals Online Portal. Retrieved on 2010-02-05
  4. Strep Throat Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on 2010-02-05
  5. Gastro-oesophageal reflux NetDoctor Portal. Retrieved on 2010-02-05
  6. Sore Throat or Pharyngitis MedicineNet. Retrieved on 2010-02-05