Causes Of Itchy Throat And Stuffy Nose
Youre sneezing and sniffling, with a stuffy nose and an itchy throat. With these kinds of symptoms, you most likely have a cold. Then again, allergies can cause comparable symptoms. So which one is it a cold or allergies?
Before you open your medicine cabinet and begin to look for relief, you have to know which type of medication you need. Colds and allergic reactions require different types of treatment.
When youre not exactly sure what the issue is, attempt these 3 easy tests. Theyll help you figure out whether youve got an allergic reaction issue or simply a common cold.
What’s The Difference Between A Cold Strep Throat And Tonsillitis
A sore throat is often the first sign of a cold. However, a sore throat from a cold often gets better or goes away after the first day or two. Other cold symptoms such as a runny nose and congestion may follow the sore throat.
Strep throat, which is an infection due to streptococcus bacteria, is another cause of sore throats and tonsillitis. With strep throat, the sore throat is often more severe and persists.
Tonsillitis is a painful inflammation or infection of the tonsils, the tissue masses located at the back of the throat.
How Are Sore Throats With Colds Treated
Although there is no cure for a sore throat caused by a cold virus, there are ways to help you feel more comfortable. Drinking warm liquids, gargling with warm salt water, sucking on ice chips, or taking an over-the-counter medicine may relieve symptoms of pain or fever. When you are sick with a cold, it is also important to get enough rest, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of fluids.
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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 .
Preventing A Sore Throat
As sore throats are caused by bacterial or viral infections, they can be difficult to prevent.
If you have a sore throat caused by an infection, you can help prevent the infection spreading by practising good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and keeping surfaces clean and free of germs.
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Is A Sore Throat With A Cold Caused By Viruses Or Bacteria
Sore throats can be caused by viruses or bacteria. The most common causes of sore throats are viruses. Viral sore throats are often accompanied by other cold symptoms that may include a runny nose, cough, red or watery eyes, and sneezing. Other causes of sore throat include smoking, pollution or irritants in the air, allergies, and dry air.
What Causes Postnasal Drip
- Certain medications, including some for birth control and blood pressure
- Deviated septum, which is the crooked placement of the wall that separates the two nostrils, or some other problem with the structure of the nose that affects the sinuses
- Changing weather, cold temperatures, or really dry air
- Fumes from chemicals, perfumes, cleaning products, smoke, or other irritants
Sometimes the problem is not that you’re producing too much mucus, but that it’s not being cleared away. Swallowing problems can cause a buildup of liquids in the throat, which can feel like postnasal drip. These problems can sometimes occur with age, a blockage, or conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD.
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Reduce The Risk Of Illness
So, youve decided you want to avoid all of the above.
How do you protect yourself from COVID-19?
- Get vaccinated or if youre already vaccinated, get your booster.
- Wear a face mask when you go out in public as required by CDC guidelines and based on the transmission rate in your community.
- Wash your hands often with soap and clean, running water for at least 20 seconds.
- If you dont have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often. Make sure it has at least 60% alcohol.
- Dont touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have clean hands.
- As much as possible, dont touch high-touch public surfaces such as doorknobs. Dont shake hands.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue into the trash. If you dont have tissues, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow.
- Stay away from people who are sick.
- Check your home supplies. Consider keeping a two week supply of medicines, food and other needed household items.
- Dont share eating or drinking utensils with sick people.
- Clean surfaces often with disinfectant.
How do you prevent the common cold?
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Avoid touching your nose or eyes, especially while around sick people.
- Clean surfaces with disinfectants that kill viruses to halt the spread of colds.
And how do you prevent the flu?
And what about allergies?
Theres not much to do to prevent allergies, but you can help prevent the symptoms by:
Can Allergies Cause A Sore Throat
Yes, sometimes allergies can cause a sore throat among other symptoms. Its all part of the way your body protects itself against allergic reactions.
- After exposure to an allergic trigger, your body releases chemicals called histamines into your bloodstream1. This can cause reactions like itchy eyes, sneezing and that general stuffy feeling.
- Histamines increase your bodys production of mucus, which is used to keep your throat, mouth and nose from drying out2. At normal levels of production, you wont notice mucus, even as it performs important tasks like neutralizing harmful bacteria.
- However, when histamines ramp up your bodys production of mucus, you may feel excess mucus in your throat caused by post-nasal drip. This can irritate your throat and cause a scratchy feeling3.
Histamines are your bodys natural reaction to any allergy trigger. So whether youre exposed to pollen as a hay fever sufferer, or to dust by opening an old book, your body springs into action resulting in the discomfort you feel during an allergic reaction.
If youre experiencing a sore throat as an allergy symptom, there are potential ways to find relief.
But that doesnt mean its not an annoyance! So lets find out how to help or stop a sore throat being caused by allergies.
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Know Your Paths To Care
Were here to help you get better quickly, with tools and information for self-care and convenient options for visits or advice when you need it. Easy ways to get help for your cold or allergy symptoms include:
- Consulting Nurse Service: Call a nurse, who will assess your symptoms and recommend treatments or other next steps. Available 24/7.
- Online visit: Complete a questionnaire about your symptoms. A clinician will provide a diagnosis, treatment plan and, if needed, a prescription without a trip to your doctors office.
Symptoms Of Scratchy Throat
Note that a scratchy throat may not just be a symptom of an approaching cold, it might come from allergies, irritation and other sources. However, as soon as the source of your scratchy throat is identified, then the treatment can be done and this is can be more effective.
The symptoms of a scratchy throat include an itchy feeling or burning sensation at the back of your throat, tenderness along the neck and this would likely happen especially after eating or swallowing and in some cases, drinking as well.
Other possible symptoms that can manifest for scratchy throat problem includes:
- Dry cough and sneezing
However, it is important to mention that the symptoms will vary from person to person and will also depend on the possibility of other health concern present in the sufferer. Whatever the case, the most important thing is to consult your doctor as soon as you feel these unusual manifestations of these symptoms.
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Are You Treating Multiple Symptoms
For a cold, get extra rest and drink plenty of fluids, including water, tea, or soup with lots of broth. For allergies, it can help to shower and change your clothes often because allergens cling to skin, hair, and clothing. For both colds and allergies, over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, and pain relievers may help you feel better, although they wont make a cold go away any faster. And no matter what ails you, avoid medications that treat multiple symptoms, especially if you dont have some of the symptoms the medication is meant to treat.
If home treatments arent working and you still dont feel well, connect with our Consulting Nurse Service.
In Kids Is A Runny Nose A Sign Of Covid
With children, runny nose isnt always the most common symptom of COVID-19.
According to Vidya Mony, MD, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist and an associate hospital epidemiologist at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in California, the most prevalent signs of COVID-19 in children are usually fever, cough, and sore throat.
Its also important to remember that there are multiple other viruses that are circulating right now, so its possible that your child may not actually have COVID, but could have another virus, she says.
These other viruses include rhinovirus and RSV , which typically peaks in winter but surged last summer in the U.S. as mask wearing and other COVID-19 restrictions lifted.
The easiest way to figure out if your child has COVID-19 is testing. If your child had a known exposure to COVID and is symptomatic and the home antigen test is negative, its probably worthwhile to get a PCR to be sure, Dr. Mony says. Otherwise, you can always remember to do the home antigen test multiple days in a row.
Mony urges parents to vaccinate children age 6 months and up, and to make sure kids who are 5 and older are both vaccinated and boosted .
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Allergy Sore Throat Treatment
So, you have a sore throat, cough, runny nose and congestion. Have you caught a common cold or do you have allergy symptoms? Sometimes, it is even difficult for doctors to distinguish between the two, because their symptoms can be so similar. If you have persistent throat discomfort accompanied by other allergy symptoms, consider that you may have a sore throat due to allergies.
When Should I Call The Doctor
If you have any doubts or questions, it’s best to call your doctor. An illness that seems like a cold can turn out to be the flu or COVID-19. And other illnesses, like strep throat or pneumonia, can cause similar symptoms but need different treatment. Sometimes it’s hard to know for sure which germ is causing the problem. Then, doctors might do some tests to find out.
Get medical care right away if your child:
- seems to be getting worse
- has trouble breathing
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Pharmacy First Scotland: Sore Throat Treatment From Your Pharmacy
If you have a sore throat you can get advice and treatment directly from a pharmacy. Find your local pharmacy on Scotland’s Service Directory.
You don’t usually need to get medical advice if you have a sore throat however your pharmacist may advise you see your GP if:
- your symptoms are severe
- you have persistent symptoms that haven’t started to improve after a week
- you experience severe sore throats frequently
- you have a weak immune system for example, you have HIV, are having chemotherapy, or are taking medication that suppresses your immune system
If they’re not open, you should phone the NHS 24 service
If you have a persistent sore throat , you should see your GP who may refer you for further tests. This is because your sore throat may be a symptom of a more serious condition. Some possibilities are described below.
Visit your nearest accident and emergency department or call 999 for an ambulance if you have severe symptoms such as:
- difficulty breathing or swallowing
- current or past stomach problems, such as a stomach ulcer
- current or past liver or kidney problems
Children under the age of 16 should never be given aspirin.
Take painkillers as necessary to relieve your pain. Always read the manufacturers instructions so you do not exceed the recommended or prescribed dose.
Cold Flu Allergies Or Covid
This article was updated April 18, 2022.
There are many similar symptoms of cold, flu, allergies and COVID-19.
Sometimes, it may be difficult to determine what ailment you may be experiencing.
So how can you know whether you are dealing with allergies, a common cold, the flu or COVID-19?
The biggest difference is the shortness of breath associated with COVID-19. The flu or cold does not cause shortness of breath unless it progresses to pneumonia.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
- Nausea or vomiting
A cold, which could be triggered by more than 200 different viruses, can make you miserable but is relatively harmless. It usually clears up by itself after a period of time, although it can sometimes lead to a secondary infection, such as an ear infection. Common cold symptoms include sneezing, stuffy nose, sore throat and mild to moderate chest discomfort and cough.
Influenza, however, can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia and even death. What may seem like a cold could actually be the flu. Symptoms include fever or feverish/chills, cough, muscle or body aches, headache, fatigue, runny or stuffy nose and sore throat.
Allergies are typically chronic conditions presenting with symptoms off and on depending perhaps on the season or your environment. Those suffering from allergies deal with itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion.
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Allergies Do Not Cause Fevers
People often wonder if allergies can cause a fever. The answer is no. Allergies cannot cause a fever, though you could have an allergy flare-up at the same time youre experiencing a fever from an infection. For example, since allergies tend to cause stuffy noses, theyre also considered risk factors for sinus infections. Sinus infections happen when mucus gets trapped in the sinuses, allowing bacteria or viruses to grow.
With a cold, your temperature can run warmer, but typically it will be less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ensure Enough Body Hydration
To get rid of scratchy throat, it is expected that you keep your body hydrated. What adequate dehydration does is to ensure that your body produces enough saliva and less mucus so as to sustain the natural lubrication of your throat. Dehydration is bad in the sense that it causes the already painful situation to become worse.
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Talk With A Doctor Or Clinician To Create A Personalized Treatment Plan
If you arent sure if its a cold or allergies, or if your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, its best to connect with a care provider to get an official diagnosis and treatment plan.
If your allergy symptoms are left untreated, you could become more prone to getting sinus infections or other upper respiratory infections, or they may lead to poor asthma control.
Also, a common cold can turn severe. So if your cold has had you laid up longer than a day or two, get in touch with your doctor.
You have a couple options:
Make an appointment for face-to-face care from a primary care doctor or clinician. Whether you choose a video visit or in-person appointment, your doctor will listen to your symptoms, answer questions and work with you to create a tailored treatment plan including connecting you with an allergist or an otolaryngologist if needed.
Start a virtual visit anytime, anyplace through Virtuwell. With Virtuwell, no appointment is necessary and treatment is available 24/7. Getting started is easy. Well ask you a few questions, and youll get your diagnosis and treatment plan from a board-certified nurse practitioner. Each visit is just $59 or less, depending on your insurance.
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