Do Allergies Cause a Sore Throat?

Is Your Irritated Throat Due to Allergies and Not an Infection?

Sore throat and allegies
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When you feel throat discomfort, do you wonder whether it could be caused by allergies rather than being a sign of getting a viral or bacterial infection? You may awaken to feel some scratchy soreness and hope that it doesn't mean you're coming down with something. Do you have hope that it is just your allergies?

Allergies and Sore Throat Symptoms

Though there are a number of potential causes, yes, allergies can be the cause of your sore throat.

This has a lot to do with the fact that people use the term "sore throat" to refer to a lot of different things.

Some people describe any discomfort of the throat as a sore throat. Causes of this discomfort may include post nasal drip, which certainly may be caused by allergies that result in allergic rhinitis. Post nasal drip can also be caused by non-allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. Other non-allergic causes of post nasal drip include weather changes, exposure to strong scents, and some medicines for high blood pressure.

A dry throat can occur when you have nasal congestion and have been breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. This dry, irritated feeling may be described as a sore throat by some people. Allergic rhinitis could be giving you a stuffy nose, with or without post nasal drip, and you compound that by breathing through your mouth.

A dry, irritated throat may also be caused by the side effect of older antihistamines that are commonly used to treat the symptoms of allergies.

If you have been taking antihistamines such as Benedryl or its generic form, diphenhydramine, you may have a dry and scratchy throat as a result.

Learn more about the other symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever. It can be due to seasonal allergens or year-round allergens. It can be difficult for some people to tell the difference between allergic rhinitis and the common cold.

Frequent morning sore throats may also be caused by gastroesophageal reflux, as a result of stomach acid irritating the throat during the night. This is a non-allergic cause.

Sore Throat as a Symptom of Infection - Some Serious

Pharyngitis, the medical term for a sore throat, usually describes inflammation of the throat. It most often involves infectious causes such as streptococcus or mononucleosis. Symptoms of pharyngitis caused by an infection often include painful swallowing, redness of the throat or tonsils, and tenderness of the lymph nodes in the neck.

Usually, pharyngitis is associated with other symptoms of an infection, such as fever, chills, and body aches and pains. Strep throat must be treated with antibiotics to ensure you don't end up with the dangerous conditions that can develop afterward.  In some people, an immune response following untreated strep throat produces damage to internal organs such as the heart and kidneys.

A sore throat is a symptom to monitor and to have screened with a rapid strep test if your medical advisor suggests it.

Sources:

Wallace DV, Dykewicz MS, chief editors. The Diagnosis and Management of Rhinitis: An Updated Practice Parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008;122:S1-84.

Buttram J, More D, Quinn J. Allergy and Immunology. The Complete History and Physical Exam Guide. 2003:53-69.

Bousquet J, van Cauwenberge P, Khaltaev N. Allergic Rhinitis and Its Impact on Asthma. J Clin Allergy Immunol. 2001;108:S147-344.

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