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One of the typical symptoms of feeling unwell is “sore throat”. If you feel pain in your throat, don’t leave it alone and deal with it as soon as possible. This time, I will explain the mechanism, cause, and illness (disease) that cause sore throat so that you can deal with it appropriately and quickly. In addition, we will also introduce coping methods to relieve pain even a little under the supervision of a specialist.

Supervision: Takeshi Nagatake (Director of Sakuramichi Clinic)

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Why does my throat hurt?

1Structure and function of the throat (throat)

The throat consists of a part called the “pharynx” from the back of the nose and mouth to the entrance of the esophagus, and a part called the “larynx” at the entrance of the trachea through which air passes. The mouth and nose are not only the passages for food and drink and the air, but also the entrances for pathogens such as various bacteria and viruses contained in the air to enter the body.
The main functions of the throat are breathing (breathing), swallowing (swallowing food and drink), and vocalization (speaking). It also works to distribute air and food to the trachea and esophagus so that food and drink do not go to the lungs. In addition, the throat has a defense mechanism that repels pathogens.

Defense mechanism to prevent the invasion of foreign substances > In
order to eliminate harmful substances such as pathogens contained in the air in the throat and respiratory tract, the following defense mechanisms exist.

● Tonsils monitor throat

The tonsils are the tissue that surrounds the throat and keeps an eye on the food and air that passes through it. There are four types, but the palatine tonsils that can be seen on the left and right at the end when the mouth is wide open are generally called tonsils. Tonsils are a collection of lymphoid tissues that act as a barrier to protect the body by eliminating foreign substances such as dust and dirt that have invaded from the outside, and pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.

● The pili is a name guard that prevents foreign matter from entering.

Cilia are undulating protrusions on the surface of cells. The surface is covered with mucus. This movement that makes the pili undulate is called the pili movement, and foreign substances and dust entangled with mucus are discharged to the outside of the body.

2Mechanism of sore throat

Since the throat is the first organ that the outside air comes into contact with, it can be easily infected with pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, causing inflammation, and is also prone to allergic reactions. When the body is tired or the ciliary movement is weakened by the influence of dry air, tobacco, stimulating gas, etc., foreign substances such as pathogens are less likely to be discharged and easily invade the body.
When a pathogen invades, the cells in the throat are damaged, but the body tries to counteract it by causing an inflammatory reaction, producing inflammatory and pain-promoting substances. At the same time that the inflammatory substance stimulates the nerves, it widens the blood vessels and increases blood flow, causing the throat to swell with a feeling of heat.

Causes of sore throat


When the air dries, the throat defenses work less. The pili that prevent foreign matter from entering cannot move once they are dry. Therefore, foreign substances in the inhaled air cannot be discharged, and it becomes easy to be infected with a virus. In addition, stuffy nose due to hay fever or allergies can lead to mouth breathing, resulting in dry throat and inflammation.

2Virus and bacterial infections

Since the throat is constantly inhaled by breathing and the outside air passes through it, a defense mechanism has been developed to remove various foreign substances. However, in the case of a strong pathogen, or when stress or fatigue is accumulated and the defense mechanism is weakened, the infectivity of the pathogen exceeds the defense power. The pharynx and larynx are prone to inflammation, and the tonsils are also prone to inflammation.
The main viruses and bacteria that cause sore throat include:
Typical virus >
rhinovirus, coronavirus ※, RS virus, parainfluenza virus, such as adenovirus
typical bacteria >
Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, such as group A streptococci

except ※ a new type of coronavirus. The new coronavirus has different symptoms and infectivity from the conventional cold virus. If you find out that you have been infected, be sure to follow the response policy of each prefecture.
・ Click here for the difference between a cold, a new coronavirus infection, and influenza

3Throat stimulation

If you breathe irritating gas, cigarette smoke, cold air, or overdose alcohol, these can be irritating and cause inflammation in your throat. If you drink high-frequency alcohol straight, you may feel that your throat is burning, but this is a result of the inflammation of the mucous membrane of your throat caused by alcohol, so be careful. Spicy foods and drinks can be irritating to the throat. Inflammation may also occur in the throat due to allergies such as house dust, dust and pollen.
Be aware that with cigarettes, even if you do not smoke directly, cigarette smoke (calling smoke) exhaled by nearby smokers or smoke rising from the cigarette (sidestream smoke) can cause sore throat.

FourOveruse of the throat (throat)

Excessive strain on your throat, such as continuing to make a loud voice at work, singing too much at karaoke, or chatting for a long time, can cause inflammation and pain in your throat.

Major illnesses that cause sore throat

* The following diseases require a doctor’s diagnosis. If you are worried about any of the following diseases, see a doctor as soon as possible.


The tonsils are inflamed by pathogens such as bacteria. The tonsils on the left and right are red and swollen, often with white pus. It may be accompanied by strong sore throat, pain that makes it impossible to swallow things and brim, and high fever. Other symptoms include headaches and joint pain due to high fever, chills, swelling of the lymph in the neck, and pain in the ears.


Inflammation has spread to the entire mucous membrane of the throat. It is divided into acute pharyngitis and chronic pharyngitis, and repeated acute pharyngitis may lead to chronic pharyngitis. It is also called a “throat cold”.

Acute pharyngitis >
A disease in which the mucous membrane is inflamed due to infection by pathogens such as viruses and bacteria that have invaded from the nose and throat and irritation caused by dirty air. The mucous membrane of the throat may become red and swollen, causing a feeling of foreign body, or pain when swallowing. It may be accompanied by fatigue, fever and headache.

Chronic pharyngitis >
Pharyngitis becomes chronic due to repeated acute pharyngitis, chronic sinusitis that causes nasal discharge to constantly flow into the throat, and continuous stimulation of the throat by dirty air and smoking. .. It can also be caused by a dry throat due to vitamin deficiency and mouth breathing at night.
In addition to sore throat, symptoms such as foreign body feeling, discomfort, and dryness are seen, and coughing is often accompanied.

3Streptococcal infection (Group A β-hemolytic streptococcal pharyngitis)

It is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A β Streptococcus pyogenes). It is a highly contagious disease that easily affects children, but it can also affect adults. It develops 2 to 5 days after contact with a person who has symptoms of this infection.
The main symptoms are high fever and sore throat, which are characterized by less coughing, sneezing, and runny nose, unlike the symptoms of a cold. A red rash may develop on the back of the upper jaw in the mouth, or a strawberry-like lump (strawberry tongue) may form on the tongue. A rash may appear on the body and limbs, and it usually recovers in about a week, but the skin may peel off after a few weeks.
Another disease (complication) caused by this streptococcal infection may be rheumatic fever (inflammation of the joints, heart, skin, and nervous system) and nephritis.


The larynx is part of the airways, which are the passages of air, and is the vocal organ that produces voice. It also distributes air and food to the trachea and esophagus so that food and drink do not go to the lungs. The main types of laryngitis that cause inflammation here are acute laryngitis, acute epiglottitis, and acute subglottic laryngitis.

Acute laryngitis >
Infection with viruses and bacteria is often the cause, and it may occur after allergies, smoking, or inhaling cold air after forcibly yelling.
The main symptoms are voice, dry cough, dry throat and foreign body feeling, and when it gets worse, it may cause high fever and neck pain. Be aware that the larynx is also an air passage, so if the swelling becomes stronger due to inflammation, you may not be able to speak or you may have difficulty breathing.

Acute epiglottitis > The
epiglottis acts like a lid that sends air to the trachea and prevents food from going to the trachea. Most of the causes are Haemophilus influenzae, which causes the epiglottis to rapidly become inflamed and block the airways (air passages).
Fever, strong sore throat (the worst sore throat in life), difficulty breathing, pain when swallowing, difficulty speaking, wheezing (sounds such as seeing when inhaling), dyspnea If it gets worse, there is a risk of suffocation.

Acute subglottic laryngitis > A
disease in which the area below the vocal cords near the trachea becomes inflamed, swollen and swollen. It is most common in children 6 months to 5 years old, and most often in children around 2 years old.
It begins with cold-like symptoms, and after a few days, sudden wheezing and difficulty breathing begin at night. Infants, in particular, are narrower than the glottis and often cause sudden dyspnea. Occasionally, you may have a cough, a faint voice, or a fever that sounds like a dog howling. In severe cases, severe dyspnea may cause suffocation.

How to prevent sore throat


Gargling helps prevent infections because it has the effect of flushing out pathogens such as viruses and bacteria before they invade through the throat. It is recommended to do this when you come home, go out to a crowd, have a dry throat and feel sick, or when you are concerned about the dryness of the air.
There are two types of gargle: “Bukubuku gargle”, which sucks water in your mouth and spits it out, and “Rattling gargle”, which sucks water in your mouth and gargles up for about 15 seconds so that it reaches the back of your throat. It is said that the effect can be expected if the rattle gargle is performed twice after the bubbling gargle is performed once.

2Adjust room temperature and humidity

When the air dries, the mucous membranes of the throat lose their protective function and become more susceptible to viruses. It is especially important to pay attention to room temperature and humidity, as the room is easy to dry. To create an environment where the virus cannot grow, adjust the room temperature to 20 to 25 ° C and the humidity to 50 to 60%. Humidity can be adjusted by using a humidifier, drying a wet towel in the room, or boiling water.

3Refrain from stimulants

Excessive alcohol and spices and cigarettes can irritate your throat and cause irritation, so try to avoid them as much as possible.

4Repel viruses

The first is to wear a mask that is effective against coughing and sneezing that occur around you. However, overconfidence is prohibited because it cannot reliably block pathogens such as viruses and bacteria that exist in the air. The point of wearing is not to make a gap between the skin and the mask. Choose a mask that fits your face perfectly.
It is also important to remember to wash your hands and gargle when you go home or before and after meals to prevent infection. Also, try not to accumulate stress and tiredness, and make sure that you are in good physical condition so that you will not lose to viruses and bacteria by living a regular life and building physical strength.

How to relieve sore throat

1Ingenuity in daily life

Keep your body warm and rested, and try not to shout as much as possible. Please refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and alcohol that irritate your throat. It is also important to keep your throat dry. Moisturize your throat by diligently moisturizing it, and try to keep it moisturized by wearing a mask and using a humidifier. Eat plenty of nutritious and savory food and drink to improve your physical fitness.

2Use over-the-counter drugs

There are two main types of over-the-counter drugs that can be expected to be effective for sore throat: internal drugs and external drugs.
<Internal medicine>
Comprehensive cold medicine, oral and throat medicine, antipyretic analgesic, Chinese herbal preparation, drop agent, lozenge
<external medicine>
mouthwash, throat spray If the

pain is strong, take antipyretic analgesic to relieve the pain. If you feel discomfort in your throat when swallowing saliva, you may want to use an external medicine such as mouthwash or throat spray, or a Chinese herbal medicine such as kanzoto or kikyoto. If you have other symptoms such as fever as well as sore throat, it is important to choose the medicine according to the symptoms and situation, such as taking a general cold medicine.

If you have a sore throat and a stuffy nose, you may breathe through your mouth and your throat may become dry and difficult to improve. It is also important to choose an over-the-counter drug that contains pseudoephedrine hydrochloride, which is an ingredient that can eliminate stuffy nose.
The following is a summary of the main types of over-the-counter drugs and active ingredients by internal and external medicine. Please use it as a reference when choosing the over-the-counter drug to use.

● Oral medicine

・ Antipyretic analgesic ingredient
<Action / characteristics on the
throat > Relieves sore throat.
It also has the effect of lowering pain such as headaches and fever.
<Main ingredients>
Ibuprofen, loxoprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, etc.

-Anti-inflammatory ingredients
<Actions and characteristics on the
throat > Sore throat and swelling are alleviated.
<Main ingredients>
Tranexamic acid, sodium azulene sulfonate, glycyrrhizic acid, etc.

・ Crude drug ingredients
<Actions and characteristics on the throat>
Relieves pain and suppresses inflammation.
<Main ingredients>
Licorice, peony, etc.

・ Disinfectant / sterilizing ingredients
<Action / characteristics on the
throat > Disinfect / sterilize the mouth and throat.
<Main ingredients>
Cetylpyridinium chloride hydrate, etc.

● External medicine

・ Anti-inflammatory component
<Action / characteristics on the
throat > It suppresses inflammation such as sore throat and swelling.
<Main ingredients>
Sodium azulene sulfonate hydrate, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, etc.

-Disinfectant / sterilizing ingredients
<Action / characteristics on the
throat > Disinfect / sterilize the mouth and throat.
<Main ingredients>
Cetylpyridinium chloride hydrate, povidone iodine, etc.

3Get a medical examination at the hospital

There are various causes of sore throat, but in general, it usually goes away in about a week. However, if the following symptoms such as fever and pain that cannot be swallowed are observed, there is a possibility of a disease (disease) that cannot be improved by self-care, so early internal medicine, otolaryngology, and respiratory medicine. Let’s get a medical examination at such as.

Guidelines for consultation with medical institutions such as otolaryngology and respiratory medicine >
・ Throat pain lasts for 1 to 2 weeks or more
・ I cannot swallow things (food, drink, medicine, etc.), and I get drooling from my mouth
・ Breathing hard to, breathing is painful, it is difficult to breathe
· 38 ℃ or more heat there
, neck and tongue is swollen
can not be opened-mouth, mouth closed hard

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