causes, symptoms, treatments and remedies

What Is Red Throat: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments And Remedies

Red throat is a symptom that occurs in various diseases and disorders.More specifically, a red throat represents the consequence of inflammatory processes that generally develop in the pharynx . A red throat rarely presents itself as the only symptom, but is frequently accompanied by symptoms, more or less intense, which vary depending on the disorder or disease that led to the inflammation .

The causes of red throat can be multiple, they can have different origins and nature and different severity. Although a red throat can be treated symptomatically, to permanently eliminate the symptom, it is necessary to treat the underlying cause.


What Are The Causes Of Red Throat?

A red throat is a symptom of an inflammation that generally develops in the pharynx; in other words, a red throat is one of the typical symptoms of pharyngitis.

The causes that lead to the appearance of pharyngitis – therefore to the appearance of inflammation and red throat – can be different, from the simplest and least serious, up to the most severe pathologies.

Among the disorders and diseases that can lead to redness of the throat, we remember:

  • Cold-related illnesses ;
  • Infectious diseases (e.g., bacterial pharyngitis , viral pharyngitis, mononucleosis , tonsillitis , influenza, COVID-19, etc.) caused by:
    • Bacteria (such as, for example, Streptococcus pneumoniae , Haemophilus influenzae , Mycoplasma pneumoniae , etc.);
    • Viruses (such as influenza viruses , mononucleosis virus, the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, etc.);
    • Mushrooms.
  • Allergies (e.g., allergy to pollen , mold ,animal dander , dust mites , etc.);
  • Excessive dryness of the home and/or work environment;
  • Inhalation of irritants for long periods of time (for example, cigarette smoke , smog, fumes or vapors of toxic and irritating substances in the workplace, etc.);
  • Excessive strain on the pharynx muscles (a situation that can occur, for example, when you talk a lot, when you sing or when you shout);
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (due to the rise of gastric acids , the throat may become inflamed and redden).

Unfortunately, in some cases, red throat and its inflammation can be triggered by very serious underlying pathologies, such as, for example, AIDS , throat tumors or other tumors of the oral cavity.

Associated Symptoms

What Symptoms Occur In Conjunction With Red Throat?

As reiterated several times, a red throat is a condition that occurs as a consequence of inflammation of the pharynx. In the presence of phlogistic processes, in addition to redness, there is the appearance of other symptoms, such as pain or burning ( sore throat ) and swelling . Furthermore, it is also possible to experience dryness, itching of the throat and perception of a foreign body sensation.

Because of the pain that often accompanies the condition of a red and inflamed throat, patients may have difficulty swallowing food and drinks. Sometimes, the pain can be so intense that it causes discomfort even when simply swallowing saliva .

In addition to the symptoms described above and typical of inflammatory processes that affect the pharynx, a red throat can be associated with numerous other symptoms that vary depending on the disorder or disease that caused the symptom in question. Among these, we remember:

  • Runny nose , stuffy nose , sneezing , headache and phlegm in the throat (these are symptoms that can occur in colds and flu illnesses);
  • Reflux cough (particular type of cough caused by gastroesophageal reflux);
  • Allergic cough (type of cough that occurs in patients suffering from various types of allergies);
  • Fever (it is a common symptom of many pathologies, such as flu, colds and AIDS);
  • Plaques in the throat (the formation of plaques in the throat generally indicates the presence of an ongoing infection);
  • Hoarseness (this is another symptom common to many disorders and pathologies, such as colds, gastroesophageal reflux and throat tumors);
  • Swollen tonsils (typical symptom of tonsillitis);
  • Headache (this symptom is also common to many of the disorders and diseases that can cause redness and inflammation of the throat).

How To Understand If You Have A Red Throat?

The diagnosis of red throat is usually very simple, as a physical examination by the doctor is sufficient. More difficult, however, may be to identify the cause that has led to the throat becoming red.

To make a correct diagnosis, therefore, the doctor will have to resort to the medical history and – if this is not sufficient – can make use of the help of laboratory analyzes and/or instrumental tests . Among these, we find: blood tests , allergy tests, throat swab (useful when it is suspected that the red throat may be caused by infectious diseases), gastroscopy (useful in case of suspected gastroesophageal reflux), CT scan and magnetic resonance imaging ( useful, for example, in cases of suspected throat cancer ).

Care And Treatment

How To Relieve Red Throat: Cures And Treatments

Naturally, since it is a symptom, the treatment of red throat is closely related to the treatment of the disorder or disease that led to its appearance.

In any case, against a red and inflamed throat it is possible to resort to symptomatic therapies using drugs with anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving action , such as NSAIDs ( Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs ). To combat throat inflammation, these drugs are generally formulated in the form of a spray for the oral mucosa to be sprayed directly on the throat, in the form of mouthwashes with which to rinse and gargle or in the form of tabletswhich must be dissolved slowly in the mouth. A classic example of active ingredients of this type is given by flurbiprofen .

Alternatively, it is also possible to resort to the administration of NSAIDs orally . In this case, the most used active ingredients are ketoprofen , ibuprofen  and morniflumate .

Paracetamol  is an antipyretic used mainly to combat fever , but it also has a mild analgesic activity which could be useful to combat the pain that often accompanies the condition of a red throat However, the anti-inflammatory activity is almost zero, therefore, this active ingredient simply treats the pain and not the inflammation that caused it.

Antibiotics are useful only if the red throat is caused by infectious diseases of bacterial origin ; otherwise, the use of similar drugs would not only be useless and improper, but could encourage the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance . If a red throat is a symptom of viral or fungal infections, your doctor may consider prescribing antiviral or antifungal medications . In this regard, we would like to point out that – to guarantee the therapeutic effectiveness of the pharmacological treatment – it is very important to determine exactly which microorganism is responsible for the infection.

In the presence of allergies, the doctor may prescribe the administration of antihistamines and/or corticosteroid drugs; while in case of gastroesophageal reflux you can resort to the use of gastroprotectors .

As regards the treatment of serious pathologies such as AIDS and throat cancer, please read the dedicated articles on this site.

Useful Tips

Useful Tips To Relieve The Symptoms Associated With Red Throat

To alleviate the typical symptoms of inflammation and irritation of the pharynx – such as pain, burning, itching and dryness – which are typically associated with the condition of a red throat, it is possible to adopt some simple measures. In detail, it can be useful:

  • Avoid smoking, both active and passive;
  • Maintain the right level of humidity in home environments and, if possible, also in working environments;
  • Avoid consuming boiling or very hot foods or drinks, as they could further worsen the inflammation, pain and redness of the throat;
  • Prefer the consumption of fresh or warm foods;
  • Avoid polluted places, places where you could inhale irritating substances, dusty places and very dry places;
  • If your sore throat is caused by gastroesophageal reflux, avoid lying down immediately after meals and, preferably, sleep with your head slightly raised above the rest of your body. This measure can be useful to counteract the rise of gastric fluids up the throat.

Finally, to relieve the symptoms associated with a red throat, many resort to taking a teaspoon of honey , or taking a cup of warm milk sweetened with honey. This beekeeping product, in fact, has emollient properties capable of providing relief, albeit temporary, from the pain, burning, itching and irritation that occur in the presence of a red and inflamed throat.

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