Can Allergies Cause A Sore Throat? What You Need to Know
Allergies are a minor annoyance for many people. But for others, they can cause more severe symptoms. Allergies can cause many symptoms, including sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes, and fatigue.
But when you have a sore, scratchy throat, it can be difficult to tell whether the problem is seasonal allergies, an infection, a cold, or something else entirely.
If you're dealing with a sore throat that won't go away, allergies might be to blame.
The good news is that you can take a few simple steps to ease discomfort and relieve your symptoms. Read on to learn more about how allergies can cause a sore throat and how to find relief.
Why Do Allergies Make Your Throat Sore?
Allergic reactions are caused by an overreaction to harmless substances. The immune system produces antibodies to fight off the allergen. This process also triggers the release of histamine, a substance that causes the symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as coughing, watery eyes, and sore throat.
The histamine produced in response to an allergen also increases mucus production. When there's an irritant in your nasal passages, your body naturally produces more mucus. The mucus traps foreign materials, including allergens, and flushes them out of the body.
However, too much mucus causes sinus and nasal congestion. The congestion drains to the back of your throat, causing constant irritation or inflammation. This, in turn, can cause a scratchy or sore throat from allergies. Some allergens that can make you have a sore throat include dust mites, pollen, mold, and animal dander.
How Long Does A Sore Throat From Allergies Last?
A sore throat from allergies can last for as long as you're exposed to the allergen or until you manage your allergies and get them under control. In other words, a sore or scratchy throat caused by allergies is a chronic condition that can last for weeks or months.
For instance, if grass pollen triggers your sore throat, the sore throat will last as long as grass pollen is in the air. However, there are several ways you can treat your allergies to manage or prevent symptoms.
What Else Causes Sore Throat?
A sore throat can be a result of different indoor and outdoor allergens. However, allergens like dust mites or pollen aren't the only things that can cause a sore throat. There can be several causes, including the following conditions, which can inflame or irritate your throat:
When a virus like the cold or flu enters your body, it attacks your nose and throat cells. It irritates the tissues lining your throat, leading to sore throat, coughing, and other cold symptoms.
A sore throat is one of the early symptoms you will experience if you have a coronavirus infection. However, the sore throat will rarely be isolated, and you will experience other COVID-19 symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fever, and loss of smell and taste.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by the Streptococcus bacteria. The infection leads to a sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.
Dry air sucks moisture from your throat and mouth, leaving them scratchy and dry. You're more likely to be exposed to dry air during the winter when your heater is running.
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. The acid irritates the esophagus lining, causing sore throat and other symptoms such as heartburn and coughing.
Smoke and Chemicals
Smoke and chemicals are some of the irritants that can inflame your throat and cause soreness. This includes any type of smoke, aerosolized sprays, cleaning products, and other air pollutants.
Some injuries, like a piece of food stuck in your throat, can cause irritation. Your throat muscles and cords will also become strained if you repeatedly use them. For instance, you can experience a sore throat after singing or yelling for a long period of time.
How to Diagnose a Sore Throat from Allergies
The best way to find out what allergens are causing your sore throat is to see an allergist for an allergy test. The test will clear up any confusion and help you discover other allergens that might be causing your sore throat.
The easiest way to complete your allergy test is to use Wyndly’s at-home test. This test is convenient and easy to take from the comfort of your home.
Here is an overview of different allergy tests and how they work:
Skin Prick Test
This is probably the most old-fashioned allergy testing option. It requires you to physically appear at your doctor’s office to determine which allergens are triggering your allergic reaction.
The doctor administers the test by pricking or scraping your skin using a needle that contains a small amount of allergen extract. You will develop allergy symptoms in the pricked areas if you're allergic to the substance. These could be swelling, hives or bumps, redness, or itching.
While this option might be effective, it is usually uncomfortable and time-consuming. An at-home test takes such inconveniences out of the equation.
At-Home Allergy Test
This is a modern and efficient allergy-testing method. You can complete the test by following these simple steps:
- Order an at-home allergy test from Wyndly. We will deliver our CLIA-certified allergy test to your door.
- Take the allergy test and send it back to us. To complete the allergy test, use a finger prick to draw a blood sample and then mail the sample back to us at Wyndly.
- Receive your personal allergy profile. After you take our allergy test, one of our doctors will interpret your results and create a personalized treatment plan for your allergies.
One of the benefits of an allergy test is that it will provide a comprehensive overview of all the allergens you’re sensitive to. This is important because you may be allergic to more than one thing. When you know what triggers your sore throat or other symptoms, developing an effective treatment plan is easy.
How to Treat a Sore Throat From Allergies
There are several different methods available for managing and reducing your symptoms.
Even before treating a sore throat from allergies, it's vital to limit your exposure to allergens that may trigger sore throat symptoms.
Try to limit your exposure by:
- Staying indoors when the pollen count is high
- Keeping your windows closed to limit the amount of pollen in your home
- Washing your bedding every week to remove any allergens
- Showering and changing your clothes immediately after spending time outdoors to wash off any pollen or allergens
- Removing allergens from the air using an air purifier
These preventative measures are crucial, especially if you have seasonal allergies. By taking steps to avoid allergens, you can ease the symptoms of your sore throat and prevent it from occurring in the first place.
You can still develop a sore throat from allergies even after taking preventative measures. While natural remedies might not be as effective at treating allergies as medications, they can help provide some relief from your sore throat.
The following home remedies may help:
- Gargle with warm salt water
- Drink warm fluids like soup or tea
- Add moisture to your indoor air using a humidifier
- Eat honey or mix it with tea
- Take throat lozenges
- Use a neti pot to rinse your nose and throat
These home remedies can help to ease sore throat symptoms by reducing inflammation and soreness.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications
If home remedies don't seem to be helping your sore throat from allergies, it might be time to explore medication options. While OTC medications are effective and widely available, they only provide short-term relief from your symptoms. Some OTC allergy medications include:
- Antihistamines: These drugs work by blocking histamine, a substance that your body releases during an allergic reaction. Antihistamines like cetirizine and diphenhydramine can temporarily reduce your allergy symptoms, including a sore throat.
- Nasal Sprays: Nasal sprays reduce inflammation in your nose and throat. They can also help break up mucus so you can breathe more easily.
- Decongestants: You will feel congested when mucus clogs your nasal passages and blocks the airways or when your nose’s blood vessels are enlarged. Decongestants can temporarily reduce the inflammation in your nose so that you can breathe more easily.
Immunotherapy is the most effective treatment if you have a sore throat from allergies. It involves introducing small amounts of the allergen to your body to build up a tolerance to it over time. The gradual exposure to the allergen eventually retrains your immune system so that it no longer reacts to the allergen that usually triggers your symptoms.
Sublingual immunotherapy is just as effective as allergy shots, but unlike shots, you can safely administer sublingual immunotherapy from the comfort of your home.
Take Our Allergy Assessment
If you’re struggling with allergy symptoms, Wyndly's allergy doctors can help you determine what allergens are causing your symptoms and create a personalized treatment plan to get you long-term relief.
Take our quick assessment now to see if you’re a candidate for sublingual immunotherapy!