Sore throats are a symptom commonly associated with infections such as the cold or the flu. They can be triggered by a weakened immune system, but they can also be caused by extenuating illnesses such as hay fever or self-inflicted pollutants like cigarette smoke. Here at A.Vogel Talks Sore Throats, our immune system expert Dr. Jen Tan examines the underlying causes of sore throats and recommends herbal alternatives to soothe any discomfort. If you have any questions, feel free to ask Dr. Tan using our Q&A service.
The throat (or pharynx) is the muscular passage visible when you open your mouth. It connects the nose and mouth to the oesophagus and lungs. The pharynx helps us control speech, breathing and swallowing.
A sore throat occurs when the tissues of the pharynx become inflamed. Most commonly, this arises because of infection by viruses and bacteria, associated with the common cold or flu.
Sore throats are common and it is said that the average person will get 2 or 3 of these a year. Sore throats, like cold and flu infections, are more commonly seen in younger people. This is because as a person gets older, his or her immune system has had the chance to build up resistance to cold and flu viruses.
Sore throats are often part of the symptoms experienced with cold and flu infections. They may the first signs of these infections, or develop later as a result of subsequent (or secondary) infection by bacteria.
Inflammation at the back of the throat can give rise to a variety of symptoms, all described as a sore throat:
At the start of a viral cold infection, it is not uncommon to experience a feeling of irritation at the back of the throat which might be described as ‘scratchy’ or ‘itchy’
If the throat inflammation continues, this irritation can develop into a discomfort or pain
Further inflammation can give rise to discomfort on swallowing food or liquids or even saliva
These are only a few of the symptoms associated with having a sore throat.
Echinacea is a traditional herb known to aid the body in its fight against colds and flu by supporting the immune system – but not all Echinacea is the same! Research shows that the fresher the herb, the more effective the remedy will be, which is why our Echinaforce cold and flu remedies are made using freshly harvested Echinacea.
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On average, you will experience a sore throat 2 or 3 times a year but, if you are lucky, your immune system will be able to conquer the virus before it develops into a full blow episode of the common cold.