Is There A Link Between Sore Throat And Allergies?
While a sore throat is most likely to occur due to a viral or a bacterial infection, there is a connection between a sore throat and allergies as well. Since most of the symptoms tend to be similar, it can be difficult at times to determine whether an allergy or an infection is to blame for your throat problem. There are differences however. If you have a sore throat, and allergies are to blame, the sore throat will not likely to be accompanied by a fever, or by sore or aching muscles, as can be the case when a virus is to blame.
Common Symptoms - Allergy symptoms, such as itchy eyes, a stuffy or runny nose, and sneezing, are also symptoms that often indicate the beginning of a cold or of the flu. The throat may become sore, and a cough may develop, but as time passes you're generally able to determine whether you have a cold or not. When you have a cold, the above mentioned symptoms will usually go away, but if the throat is sore, the soreness won't usually go away until some time later.
Necessary And Unnecessary Immune System Reactions - One thing that the cold and an allergic reaction have in common is the fact that the immune system responds to both in much the same way. In the case of a cold, the immune system will attack the invading virus, just as it will attack invading bacteria. In the case of an allergy, the immune system attacks a substance which is for all intents and purposes harmless. An allergic reaction, including a sore throat, is the result of an unnecessary reaction on the part of an overactive immune system.
A Cold, Or An Allergy? - There are a number of ways to indicate if you have a sore throat, and allergies are to blame. If the sore throat is due to a cold, it will usually begin to get better in a day or two, or 3 to 4 days at the most, unless a secondary infection of some kind has set in. If the sore throat is due to an allergy, it may linger on for a period of weeks, or even longer. If the sore throat occurs during the winter months, it is more likely to be due to a cold. Suffering from an allergic reaction to pollen for example, is unlikely to happen during the winter, but you could get an allergic reaction from dust or pet dander.
If the sore throat occurs in the late spring or summer months, an allergy is most likely the reason, although one can catch a cold at any time of the year. Many of us have experienced a “summer cold” at one time or another, which may have been a common cold, or may have been the result of an allergy.
Cold symptoms can sometimes be slow to develop. If you first experience a runny nose or watery eyes, and then a stuffy nose, and somewhat later a sore throat, you most likely have a cold. The symptoms of a cold usually do not appear until several days after you've been infected. If an allergy is to blame, the symptoms tend to appear immediately, and appear all at once.
When you have a sore throat, and allergies are to blame, treatment is usually somewhat different than you would treat a common cold. For one thing, when you have a cold, the symptoms usually go away on their own in a few days, although you might want to take something to get a measure or relief from a cough or a sore throat. If an allergy is to blame, the symptoms usually will linger on, at least as long as the allergen is present.
When the cause of the sore throat is definitely an allergy, moisture often provides a measure of relief, as dry air can make a sore throat even worse. Moisture in the air can also help to control the allergen at times, especially if it is dust or pollen. Investing in a room humidifier may make sense in this instance. Sucking on throat lozenges will help too, although lozenges in themselves do not attack the source of the problem. Treating a sore throat and the other symptoms caused by an allergen usually involves three things. First, treat the symptoms. Then, try to avoid contact with the allergen, assuming you know what it is. Finally, see a doctor or an allergist to first determine what allergen is causing the problem, and then prescribe a treatment that would address the allergic reaction. There are general allergy medications available which may be of help, although that cannot be guaranteed. Sometimes an allergy is quite simple to deal with. At other times it can be quite difficult.
Preventing a sore throat when an allergy is to blame generally involves staying away from the allergens, which in some cases can be easy to do, and in other cases can be nearly impossible. The allergen may be from tree pollen, and avoidable, or it may be cat dander, compliments of a kitty you love.