The monsoon season brings relief from the heat but also leads to humidity. The sticky feeling is not the only discomfort you feel during the monsoon season. It is common for people to experience a sore throat and general allergy 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 for it.
The fluctuating weather conditions and the prevalence of viral and bacterial infections during monsoon make sore throat a common condition, says Dr Manu S Babu, Assistant Professor and Consultant ENT, DPU Super Specialty Hospital, Pimpri, Pune.
Common causes of sore throat
There can be many reasons for cases of sore throat during monsoon.
1. Viral infections
This is by far the most common cause of sore throat in the rainy season, Dr Mala Kaneria, Infectious Diseases Consultant, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai, tells Health Shots. Cold or flu, H1N1 and H3N2 are the responsible viruses.
2. Bacterial infections
Streptococcal bacteria, responsible for strep throat, can thrive in the humid environment of the monsoon season and cause severe sore throats.
There are some diseases that are common during monsoon. Increased moisture in the air during monsoon can also cause allergies, leading to throat irritation and pain. This is worse in people 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 carried to the ground during rainfall. All this leads to breathing problems that can affect the throat.
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5. Acid reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux disease may 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 can worsen in the elderly. Even people with underlying comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, liver, lung or kidney disease should be cautious. Because the infections can cause lower respiratory infection or pneumonia, says Dr. Kaneria.
Home remedies for treating sore throat
If someone in your family develops a sore throat, several home remedies can help relieve the discomfort. Here are a few tips:
1. Gargle with warm salt water
This is the easiest way to get relief when a sore throat causes discomfort. Simply dissolve a teaspoon of salt in warm water and have 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 can help fight infections, says Dr. Babu.
3. Stay hydrated
Make sure your loved one drinks warm fluids such as herbal tea, soup, or warm water throughout the day to keep their throat moist and reduce discomfort.
4. Steam inhalation
Inhaling steam from warm water can help soothe the throat and reduce congestion, relieving the symptoms of a sore throat.
5. Rest your voice
Avoid straining your voice or speaking loudly as this can further irritate the throat. Resting the voice helps the throat heal faster.
Tips to prevent sore throat
It may not always be possible to completely prevent a sore throat, but certain preventive measures can help reduce the risk. This is what you need to do:
• Stay on top of your immunity by eating nutritious foods, staying hydrated and taking supplements as needed.
• Maintain personal hygiene, including oral hygiene.
• Be careful not to get wet in the rain.
• Avoid allergens and pollutants.
• Wear a mask when you are sick or around sick people.
• Stay up to date on vaccines (pneumococcal and influenza).
• Natural remedies like tulsi, ginger and honey can also be used early.
But if the symptoms do not disappear quickly or worsen, it is better to consult a doctor.