Sore Throat It May Be Allergies
You know the telltale signs of allergies: itchy eyes, runny nose, congestion and sneezing. But did you know that allergies can also cause a sore throat? Below we review how allergies can result in a sore throat, how to treat a sore throat caused by allergies and how to tell the difference between a sore throat caused by allergies and one caused by a cold.
How To Overcome The Symptoms Of A Sore Throat From Allergies
Sore throat is a common symptom of allergies. It can be caused by an infection, but it is usually caused by inflammation in the throat or dryness of the mouth.
There are many home remedies for sore throat from allergies. One of them is to gargle with saltwater. This will help to soothe your throat and will also help to get rid of bacteria that may be causing the sore throat. Another home remedy is to drink ginger tea. Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to relieve pain in your throat as well as reduce inflammation and swelling.
In addition, you should avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, eating spicy foods or citrus fruits. Since these things can worsen your symptoms and make your sore throat worse.
What’s The Best Way To Manage A Sore Throat From Allergies
Fact: You dont need to suffer through this, and allergists say there are a few things you can do to try to relieve your pain. Ultimately, Dr. Wada says, the best treatment is a combo of tackling your nasal symptoms and sore throat. Try these treatment options.
- Use an antihistamine. Antihistamines block the effects of histamines, lessening the risk youll develop allergy symptoms, including a sore throat, Dr. Wada says.
- Try a nasal steroid spray. Nasal steroid sprays help reduce inflammation in your nasal passages, Dr. Wada says, and could help tamp down on post-nasal drip.
- Gargle with warm salt water. Not only does it feels soothing on your throat, Dr. Wada says, the salt in the water can help pull mucus out of the area and make you feel better.
- Have some honey. If a cough is behind your sore throat, consider having a spoonful of honey. Research has found that honey can reduce how often and how intensely you cough when youre sick. Honey can also be soothing for sore throats for anyone over age one, Dr. Wada says.
If you have a sore throat from allergies and this is a regular thing for you, Dr. Parikh recommends talking to your doctor or allergist about allergen immunotherapy, which are shots you can take to help reduce your reaction to allergens. These can make you less allergic to the trigger over time, Dr. Parikh says.
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There Are Various Reasons Why You Could Be Experiencing A Cough Or Sore Throat
Post-nasal drip will also irritate your esophagus and occurs because of sinusitis or the more chronic allergic rhinitis also known as Hay Fever. Post-nasal drip occurs when your sinuses become clogged, hence the term plugged up. Usually, youll experience additional symptoms, such as nasal congestion, sneezing and a runny or itchy nose, similar to symptoms we notice when our allergies are acting up.
Even food allergies can cause a sore throat. Generally, youll notice almost instant swelling and enlarging of the throat, which can quickly advance to anaphylaxis. This is a much more serious allergic reaction than an irritated throat. Often allergy medications , such as Benadryl, can have side effects such as a dry, scratchy throat, along with dry mouth. Consult a doctor before taking any medication and monitor your reactions to these types of allergy medicines.
For those with more serious allergies, symptoms can last an entire season, especially in the springtime. The flu and common cold will generally only have symptoms for a week to two weeks. If it is allergies, you will most likely also experience:
- itchy, watery eyes
- post-nasal drip
Its important if you are experiencing these symptoms to get tested by your local allergist. Rather than treating the symptoms, its best to find and treat the cause.
Medications For Seasonal Allergies
If OTC medications for seasonal allergies do not provide relief, a medical provider can prescribe nasal sprays, allergy shots, or other prescriptions that may be more effective.
See your doctor if allergy symptoms are making it challenging to function, or if you have a sore throat that worsens or does not improve.
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S For Managing Your Sore Throat
The first step in managing your allergy-induced sore throats is visiting a professional. From there, we can determine the root cause of your allergy, and help you create a personalized plan for removing the trigger from your life and/or ways to manage your allergies when removing the trigger isnt a realistic solution.
How To Tell A Sore Throat From Allergies Heres What Can Help
Even in mild cases, seasonal allergies are uncomfortable. For those with allergies, a stuffy nose, watery eyes, and constant sneezing are not symptoms to take lightly. But when a sore throat is added to the mix, seasonal allergies can become downright unbearable.
Of course, many people associate a sore throat with an illness, like the common cold. So, you might not put two-and-two together when they start to feel a tickle at the back of your throat. However, seasonal allergies can â and often do â cause a sore and scratchy throat.
Read on to tackle this annoying symptom of seasonal allergies. Weâll explain why allergies cause a sore throat, how to tell it apart from another illness, and some common methods people use to get relief.
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Can Allergies Cause A Sore Throat
So, the short answer here is yes, Evan Li, MD, an allergist and assistant professor of medicine specializing in immunology, allergy and rheumatology at Baylor College of Medicine, tells Health. A sore throat can be from a direct inflammatory effect of allergens on the back of your throat, from mucus draining down into your throat, or from the irritating effect of coughing.
Sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes and nose, and runny nose are the most common symptoms associated with seasonal allergies, Kelly Simpson, MD, an allergist at Austin Regional Clinic in Austin, Texas, tells Health. But sore throat can also be added to that list, often caused by what’s referred to as “postnasal drip.” This is when increased mucus in the nasal passages drips down the back of the throat. As it drips down, it irritates the throat.
“Postnasal drip, other than causing sore throat, can also cause the sensation of something getting stuck in your throat, tickling or itching in the back of your throat and also irritation that leads to cough,” Dr. Li says.
No one allergen is more prone to causing sore throat than others, but the more potent the allergen, the more likely it is to cause symptoms of allergies overall, Dr. Li says. Some of the most potent allergens are grasses, ragweed, dust mites and cat dander.
What Happens When Exposed To Allergens
An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction. After youve been exposed to an allergen, your body identifies it as a threat, and your immune system kicks into high gear to protect against the perceived threat. Your body will release histamines into your bloodstream, which is what leads to allergy symptoms, such as a sore throat.
Histamines also trigger your body to produce extra mucus to keep your mouth, nose, and throat from drying out. Most days, you dont notice your bodys mucus production. But when your immune system releases too many histamines after being exposed to an allergen, this vigorous response leads to congestion, postnasal drip, and a sore throat.
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The Common Sore Throat
Thanks to developing immune systems and group environments, kids can get up to eight colds a year, and sore throats are often front and center among the symptoms. If your child has a cold, they will likely suffer from other symptoms, such as a runny nose, congestion, and respiratory problems. In most cases, the viral infection, or common cold, needs to run its course and your child should start feeling better after 3-7 days.
If, however, these symptoms arent getting any better, or theyre heading in the opposite direction and becoming worse, this is a sign that there may be more at play than a simple cold. And if your child develops a fever thats above 101 and it persists, thats another clear sign that youre dealing with more than a cold.
Strep throat, mononucleosis, the flu, measles, and chickenpox all feature sore throats as one of the primary symptoms. And these are all conditions that benefit from medical attention.
How To Treat The Sore Throat Caused By Allergies
Fortunately, sore throat allergies can be treated very well, through either over-the-counter remedies or home-based cures. But always remember that the best way to avoid sore throat allergies is to prevent allergies altogether.
1. Prevent Allergies
Start by avoiding the allergens if you can. For instance, if you wind up with sore throat allergies after being around a smoker, make sure to avoid cigarette smoke. Not sure what you are allergic to? You can see your doctor to get an allergen test and figure out what makes your body react. Once you know what you are allergic to, you might be able to get a regimen of shots that will keep you from having symptoms from those irritants.
2. Take Medications
Sometimes you cant prevent allergies. In that case, turn to the great over-the-counter medications that are designed to treat all the symptoms, including sore throat. Allergies are often relieved by antihistamines such as Zyrtec and Claritin, as well as some others that treat only very specific symptoms, like Benadryl.
3. Try Home Remedies
Though these home remedies below might not get rid of the problem, they do decrease the symptoms and make allergies more tolerable.
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Allergies Rarely Cause Sore Throats Or Body Aches
The only ache you may feel with allergies is a headache from all that congestion. Allergies can cause a sore throat if theres enough irritation from post-nasal drip and coughing, but if youre experiencing a sore throat or mild body aches, theyre more likely a sign of a bad cold.
Can allergies cause chills? No. If you have chills, its more likely you have a cold, the flu or another infection .
What Is A Skin Prick Test
This common test is painless and accurate, though it may be a little uncomfortable. Your provider places a small sample of different allergens on your skin and scratches or pricks the skin with a needle. Scratching the skin allows the allergen to get under the surface.
If youre allergic to the allergen, the area will become red, itchy and irritated in 15 to 30 minutes. You may develop raised, hive-like welts called wheals that show an allergic reaction. A skin prick test is a safe, effective way to determine which allergens are causing your symptoms.
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Seasonal Allergies Come With A Runny Nose And Sneezing But Can They Also Cause A Sore Throat Here Experts Discuss The Link Between Postnasal Drip And Throat Irritation
Sore throats can be tricky symptoms in kids. Does the scratchiness mean they have a cold or the flu? What about strep throat or COVID-19? As it turns out, an irritated throat can sometimes be nothing more than allergies. Keep reading to learn why allergies cause a sore throat and how to ease the irritation.
When To Seek Medical Help
Postnasal drip can be annoying, but it usually isn’t dangerous, as Harvard Medical School explains. However, there are some circumstances when you should seek medical help. See your doctor or dentist if your symptoms get worse or if they aren’t relieved by home remedies. You should also see your doctor if your sore throat is accompanied by other worrying symptoms, such as an unexplained fever or bloody mucus.
Allergy season has arrived, and while you may experience a sore throat from allergies, rest assured that there are many home remedies that can help to soothe your symptoms. If these home remedies aren’t enough, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.
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Natural Ways To Cure Your Allergic Throat
1. Drink Plenty of Fluids:
Drinking plenty of fluids may help to thin out the mucus in the throat and make it easier to cough up.
2. Use a Neti Pot:
Using a neti pot may help to thin out the mucus in the throat and make it easier to cough up.
3. Gargle with Salt Water:
Gargling with salt water may help to thin out the mucus in the throat and make it easier to cough up.
4. Use an Over-the-Counter Nasal Decongestant:
What Is The Outlook For People Who Have Hay Fever
Hay fever can make you feel miserable, but it doesnt cause serious health problems. Most people with hay fever manage symptoms with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medication.
People with airborne allergies have a higher risk of ear infections and sinus infections. Because hay fever can make it tough to get a good nights sleep, you may feel tired during the day. If you have asthma, hay fever can make your asthma symptoms worse.
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How Do Allergy Shots Work
Allergy shots are different from other medications in that they don’t work as a form of symptom management. Instead, they work to address the underlying cause.
Healthcare providers give shots in their offices. For the first few months, you receive injections one to three times a week. After that, you’ll get them less often, around every four to six weeks. Allergy shots are a long-term treatment option, lasting three to five years.
Allergy shots tend to be a good idea for people who don’t want to take medication or whose allergy medication is no longer working. It’s also appealing to people who would like to resolve, rather than treat, their allergies.
How To Treat A Sore Throat From Allergies
According to Dr. Burgert, you can treat allergy-induced sore throat with over-the counter-pain medication like Tylenol or Motrin. Even better, you can eliminate the cause of the sore throat with antihistamines like Zyrtec, Claritin, or Allegra. Steroid nasal sprays can also decrease the production of watery mucus but take a few days to start working.
As a natural treatment, allergy-prone children should reduce their exposure to the allergen as much as possible. For example, children allergic to pollen shouldn’t sleep with bedroom windows open during the pollen season, and they should shower before bedtime to remove as much pollen as possible. Similarly, children with allergies to dogs or cats should be kept away from these animals. Keeping hydrated and using high-efficiency particulate air filters may also help.
If your child has serious or prolonged allergy symptoms, talk with a doctor, who may diagnose allergies by examining your child and reviewing their symptoms and medical history. In some cases, the doctor will conduct blood or skin tests to make a diagnosis, and they might recommend prescription medication or treatment with allergy shots.
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How Can Sore Throat Be Caused By Allergies
Allergies can take different forms for each person. One person might suffer from severely itchy and watery eyes, while another might have a stopped-up nose. Still others might suffer from a sore throat. But how does this happen?
Remember that your nose and throat produce a great deal of mucus every day usually anywhere between one and two quarts of it! It keeps your respiratory tract healthy by keeping it moist and so helping prevent infections, which you rarely notice it. But when your body comes into contact with something that causes an allergic reaction, then a chemical called histamine is released. This increases mucus production, which can lead to a runny nose. When that mucus runs down your throat, it can lead to itching, coughing or sore throat.
Sometimes, sore throat allergies are even more direct. Particles of pollen or other allergens might go right into the nose and throat, and those can enter the respiratory system, leading to an even worse sore throat.
Allergic Rhinitis And A Sore Throat
When the immune system over-reacts to things like pollen and dust mites it results in allergic rhinitis and various symptoms like congestion and sneezing. However, accompanying these things is often the problem of a sore throat as well.
During a reaction, the mucous membranes that line the inside of the nose produce more mucus in an attempt to wash out and trap allergens. This mucus can then cause a runny nose or it can also drip down the back of the throat in a process called the post-nasal drip. This irritates sensitive tissues at the back of the throat so that they eventually become tender. Also, the feeling of mucus dripping down the back of the throat may stimulate a cough which, if persistent, also contributes to a sore throat.
On top of this, a dry or itchy throat is often associated with allergic rhinitis which causes throat tissues to become inflamed a problem wed then call a sore throat.
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When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Hay Fever
Although hay fever doesnt cause any serious health problems, you should see your provider to rule out other conditions, such as asthma. Seek care if hay fever symptoms are getting in the way of your daily life or making it hard for you to sleep. Your provider can help you identify the allergens that are causing a reaction and recommend treatments to help you feel better.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hay fever symptoms can affect your quality of life and keep you from doing the activities you love, but effective treatments are available. Millions of adults and children manage hay fever with medications and lifestyle changes. Talk to your provider about steps you can take to relieve symptoms, breathe easier and feel better.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/30/2020.
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Rhinitis . Accessed 9/1/2021.
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology . Rhinitis Overview. Accessed 9/1/2021.
- InformedHealth.org . Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care 2006-. Hay fever: Allergen-specific immunotherapy in the treatment of allergies. Accessed 9/1/2021.
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