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.

Cough medical symptom, reflex to clear large breathing passages

A cough is a sudden, and often repetitively occurring, protective reflex which helps to clear the large breathing passages from fluids, irritants, foreign particles and microbes. The cough reflex consists of 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.

Laryngitis inflammation of the larynx

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.

Contents

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]

Dander is material shed from the body of humans and animals that have fur, hair, or feathers. The term is similar to dandruff, when an excess of flakes becomes visible. Skin flakes that come off the main body of an animal are dander, while the flakes of skin called dandruff come from the scalp and are composed of epithelial skin cells. The surface layer of mammalian skin is called the stratum corneum, which is shed as part of normal skin replacement.

Mite common name for small arachnids

Mites are small arthropods belonging to the class Arachnida and the subclass Acari. Mites are not a clade as they span two different groups of arachnids: the Acariformes are sister to the camel spiders, while the Parasitiformes are sister to the false scorpions; also, they exclude the ticks, order Ixodida, although ticks and mites are closely related. Mites are distantly related to spiders and scorpions.

Pollen The grains containing the male gametes of seed plants

Pollen is a fine to coarse powdery substance comprising pollen grains which are male microgametophytes of seed plants, which produce male gametes. Pollen grains have a hard coat made of sporopollenin that protects the gametophytes during the process of their movement from the stamens to the pistil of flowering plants, or from the male cone to the female cone of coniferous plants. If pollen lands on a compatible pistil or female cone, it germinates, producing a pollen tube that transfers the sperm to the ovule containing the female gametophyte. Individual pollen grains are small enough to require magnification to see detail. The study of pollen is called palynology and is highly useful in paleoecology, paleontology, archaeology, and forensics. Pollen in plants is used for transferring haploid male genetic material from the anther of a single flower to the stigma of another in cross-pollination. In a case of self-pollination, this process takes place from the anther of a flower to the stigma of the same flower.

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.

Larynx voice box, an organ in the neck of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals

The larynx, commonly called the voice box, is an organ in the top of the neck involved in breathing, producing sound, and protecting the trachea against food aspiration. The larynx houses the vocal folds, and manipulates pitch and volume, which is essential for phonation. It is situated just below where the tract of the pharynx splits into the trachea and the esophagus. The word larynx comes from a similar Ancient Greek word.

Virus Type of non-cellular infectious agent

A virus is a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism. Viruses can infect all types of life forms, from animals and plants to microorganisms, including bacteria and archaea.

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]

Common cold common viral infection of 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 nose. The throat, sinuses, and larynx may also be affected. 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.

Bacteria A domain of prokaryotes – single celled organisms without a nucleus

Bacteria are a type of biological cell. They constitute a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a number of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria were among the first life forms to appear on Earth, and are present in most of its habitats. Bacteria inhabit soil, water, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste, and the deep biosphere of the earth's crust. Bacteria also live in symbiotic and parasitic relationships with plants and animals. Most bacteria have not been characterised, and only about 27 percent of the bacterial phyla have species that can be grown in the laboratory . The study of bacteria is known as bacteriology, a branch of microbiology.

Aerosol colloid of fine solid particles or liquid droplets, in air or another gas

An aerosol is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets, in air or another gas. Aerosols can be natural or anthropogenic. Examples of natural aerosols are fog, dust, forest exudates and geyser steam. Examples of anthropogenic aerosols are haze, particulate air pollutants and smoke. The liquid or solid particles have diameters typically <1 μm; larger particles with a significant settling speed make the mixture a suspension, but the distinction is not clear-cut. In general conversation, aerosol usually refers to an aerosol spray that delivers a consumer product from a can or similar container. Other technological applications of aerosols include dispersal of pesticides, medical treatment of respiratory illnesses, and combustion technology. Diseases can also spread by means of small droplets in the breath, also called aerosols.

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.

Epiglottitis inflammation of the epiglottis

Epiglottitis is inflammation of the epiglottis—the flap at the base of the tongue that keeps food from going into the trachea (windpipe). Symptoms are usually rapid in onset and include trouble swallowing which can result in drooling, changes to the voice, fever, and an increased breathing rate. As the epiglottis is in the upper airway, swelling can interfere with breathing. People may lean forward in an effort to open the airway. As the condition worsens stridor and bluish skin may occur.

<i>Haemophilus influenzae</i> Species of bacterium

Haemophilus influenzae is a Gram-negative, coccobacillary, facultatively anaerobic pathogenic bacterium belonging to the Pasteurellaceae family. H. influenzae was first described in 1892 by Richard Pfeiffer during an influenza pandemic.

Swallowing, sometimes called deglutition in scientific contexts, is the process in the human or animal body that allows for a substance to pass from the mouth, to the pharynx, and into the esophagus, while shutting the epiglottis. Swallowing is an important part of eating and drinking. If the process fails and the material goes through the trachea, then choking or pulmonary aspiration can occur. In the human body the automatic temporary closing of the epiglottis is controlled by the swallowing reflex.

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]

Tissue (biology) An ensemble of similar cells and their matrix with similar origin and function

In biology, tissue is a cellular organisational level between cells and a complete organ. A tissue is an ensemble of similar cells and their extracellular matrix from the same origin that together carry out a specific function. Organs are then formed by the functional grouping together of multiple tissues.

Post-nasal drip disorder that occurs when excessive mucus is produced by the nasal mucosa

Post-nasal drip (PND) occurs when excessive mucus is produced by the nasal mucosa. The excess mucus accumulates in the back of the nose and eventually 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.

Smoking Practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream

Smoking is a practice in which a substance is burned and the resulting smoke breathed in to be tasted and absorbed into the bloodstream. Most commonly, the substance used is the dried leaves of the tobacco plant, which have been rolled into a small square of rice paper to create a small, round cylinder called a "cigarette". Smoking is primarily practiced as a route of administration for recreational drug use because the combustion of the dried plant leaves vaporizes and delivers active substances into the lungs where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and reach bodily tissue. In the case of cigarette smoking these substances are contained in a mixture of aerosol particles and gasses and include the pharmacologically active alkaloid nicotine; the vaporization creates heated aerosol and gas into a form that allows inhalation and deep penetration into the lungs where absorption into the bloodstream of the active substances occurs. In some cultures, smoking is also carried out as a part of various rituals, where participants use it to help induce trance-like states that, they believe, can lead them to spiritual enlightenment.

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]

Environment

When the environment is dry especially in winter, it can create a sensation of dryness and a scratchy feeling in the throat. This is most commonly observed in the morning. Other individuals who also develop throat irritation are those breathing through their mouth because of a congested nose. Environmental pollution is also a common cause of throat irritation. In fact, indoor pollution because of tobacco smoke used to be a common cause of throat irritation. Other items known to induce throat irritation include alcohol, spicy or hot foods and smokeless tobacco. [5]

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. [6]

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. [7]

Related Research Articles

Sinusitis Inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the sinuses resulting in symptoms

Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection or rhinosinusitis, is inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the sinuses resulting in symptoms. Common symptoms include thick nasal mucus, a plugged nose, and facial pain. Other signs and symptoms may include fever, headaches, a poor sense of smell, sore throat, and a cough. The cough is often worse at night. Serious complications are rare. It is defined as acute sinusitis if it lasts less than 4 weeks, and as chronic sinusitis if it lasts for more than 12 weeks.

Scarlet fever infectious disease

Scarlet fever is a disease which can occur as a result of 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 infection of the back of the throat including the tonsils caused by group A streptococcus (GAS)

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.

Esophagitis 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 type of upper respiratory tract infection

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, 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.

Phlegm is a liquid secreted by the mucous membranes of mammals. Its definition is limited to the mucus produced by the respiratory system, excluding that from the nasal passages, and particularly that which is expelled by coughing (sputum). Phlegm is in essence a water-based gel consisting of glycoproteins, immunoglobulins, lipids and other substances. Its composition varies depending on climate, genetics, and state of the immune system. Its color can vary from transparent to pale or dark yellow and green, from light to dark brown, and even to dark grey depending on the constituents. The body naturally produces a quart of phlegm every day to capture and clear substances in the air and bacteria from the nose and throat.

Sore throat symptom

Sore throat, also known as throat pain, is pain or irritation of the throat. It is usually caused by pharyngitis or tonsillitis. It can also result from trauma.

Rhinitis irritation and inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose

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 far less common.

Tonsillitis Inflammation of the tonsils

Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils, typically of rapid onset. It is a type of pharyngitis. Symptoms may include sore throat, fever, enlargement of the tonsils, trouble swallowing, and large lymph nodes around the neck. Complications include peritonsillar abscess.

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

Rhinorrhea or rhinorrhoea is a condition where the nasal cavity is filled with a significant amount of 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.

ICD-10 is an international statistical classification used in health care and related industries.

Adenoid hypertrophy upper respiratory tract disease characterized by the unusual growth of the adenoid tonsil; has symptom snoring, has symptom hyponasality, has symptom otitis media with effusion, has symptom mouth breathing

Adenoid hypertrophy is the unusual growth (hypertrophy) of the adenoid first described in 1868 by the Danish physician Wilhelm Meyer (1824-1895) in Copenhagen. He described a long term adenoid hypertrophy that will cause an obstruction of the nasal airways. These will lead to a dentofacial growth anomaly that was defined as "adenoid facies".

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. What Causes Sore Throats Family Doctor Portal. Retrieved on 2010-02-05
  6. Gastro-oesophageal reflux NetDoctor Portal. Retrieved on 2010-02-05
  7. Sore Throat or Pharyngitis MedicineNet. Retrieved on 2010-02-05