Seven myths and truths to know about a sore throat

Can I have ice cream when I’m with sore throat? Do cold drinks make the problem worse? What if I suck on a peppermint, will it ease the pain? Here are some common questions about this issue. First of all, it is necessary to clarify that “sore throat” is not a disease, but a common symptom of several diseases, mainly viral or bacterial infections, inflammation, flu and allergic reactions.

This symptom is usually caused by inflammation that affects the pharynx (pharyngitis), but it can also affect the larynx (laryngitis) or tonsils (tonsillitis). Often the inflammation involves the pharynx and tonsils simultaneously, constituting what is called pharyngo-tonsillitis.

The most common cause of sore throat is a viral infection such as reproachthe common cold, mononucleosis and childhood illnesses for which there is a vaccine, such as measleswhooping cough, varicella and diphtheria. But many other conditions can trigger the problem. Other causes include bacterial infections, allergies, refluxexcessive use of the voice and even dryness of the throat, caused by air conditioning, dry weather or sleeping with your mouth open.

In addition to pain, it can be accompanied by burning, difficulty swallowing, local redness and swelling, hoarsenessloss of voice, cough, headachein the body and the reflexes in the ear and the neck, feverpus in the tonsils, malaise, lack of appetite, throat clearing and indisposition.

Although most of the time it resolves itself within a few days – and it is precisely for this reason that it is considered by many to be harmless – it should never be neglected.

There are several doubts about sore throat, for this reason Live well separated some myths and truths about the problem:

Does consuming ice or cold drinks make a sore throat worse?

Simply ingesting ice cream or cold drinks is not likely to cause a sore throat. In some cases, the chilled liquid can even help as an analgesic to relieve pain.

However, if the cause of the pain is infectious, ice cream or cold drinks can make it worse. This happens because, at low temperatures, the cilia of the mucous membrane – which are a natural protection – can become paralyzed, impairing their functioning and aggravating the infection.

Do sudden changes in temperature cause a sore throat?

Moving from a very hot place to a very cold place can reduce immunity and impair the functioning of the lining of the respiratory tract. This mainly happens when you enter an air-conditioned room at a low temperature.

The principle is the same as for cold drinks: the cold hinders the movement (paralyzing in some cases) the mucous cilia. The same thing happens when we are exposed to low temperatures for a long time without being properly covered.

Can air conditioning, low humidity and air pollution cause a sore throat?

Air conditioning causes a sore throat because it removes moisture from the air, causing the airways to dry out. The lack of maintenance and cleaning of air conditioners can cause allergies and irritation of the mucous membranes.

The ideal is to maintain a mild air conditioning temperature, perform periodic maintenance, clean the unit’s filter once a week (or twice a week, if it is on every day) and increase your water consumption when staying in refrigerated environments.

Is sucking on candy or chewing gum good for a sore throat?

Menthol candies and chewing gum even cause a feeling of relief for a few minutes, but the effect is temporary and can further irritate the mucous membrane. In some cases, it is recommended to take lozenges with anesthetic substances, which are suitable for sore throats. But the use of these lozenges must be prescribed by a doctor.

Can a badly healed throat infection reach the heart?

When a sore throat is caused by bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes group A, inadequate treatment or lack of treatment in people with a certain genetic predisposition can cause the disease to progress and trigger the autoimmune disease rheumatic fever, with possible consequences for the heart (as well as the nervous system central, joints and skin).

Is it only possible to treat a sore throat with antibiotics?

The use of antibiotics is only recommended in case of bacterial infections, as this type of medicine has no effect against viruses or in allergic conditions. In some cases, anti-inflammatories or anti-allergics may be prescribed.

It is important to always remember that self-medication can be harmful to health, and the indiscriminate use of antibiotics is responsible for many cases of bacterial resistance. When the sore throat lasts three or more days, consult a doctor.

Does wrapping an alcohol handkerchief around your neck treat a sore throat?

Although many people report feeling relief from the warm sensation caused by the alcohol – it heats up the area and eventually forces the body to draw more blood there – this only happens momentarily. This type of action does not reduce or eliminate the symptoms, because it does not fight the causes.

*With information taken from reports published in 05/06/2020, 16/12/2020 e 03/10/2021.

Leave a Comment