What are the most common causes of throat inflammation?

Throat swelling often occurs when the body tries to fight off an illness such as an upper respiratory infection. The glands in the neck swell in response to the immune system's attempt to fight off the bacteria. In most cases, throat inflammation is not a serious health problem.

Strep throat, a common cause of sore throat, is a bacterial infection caused by the streptococcus bacteria. In addition to a sore throat, people with strep throat will also experience fever, pain or difficulty with swelling, and other cold symptoms. They may also notice white or yellow spots on their throat or tonsils.

Tonsillitis can also cause the throat to swell and develop when throat infections are persistent. Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become infected with bacteria. It can be treated with antibiotics, but it is not uncommon for a person to have their tonsils removed, especially when a person experiences five or more episodes of infected tonsils in a year. Tonsils may also be removed when infections no longer respond to treatment.

A swollen throat does not necessarily mean that a person has strep throat or tonsillitis. Glands throughout the body act as a defense against bacteria, and can swell in response to a localized infection elsewhere in the body. For example, skin infections on the scalp and ear infections can also cause a swollen throat.

There are many things a person can do to relieve a swollen throat. A natural remedy is to apply heat, heat a washcloth or heating pad, and apply it to your neck three or four times a day. The heat should relieve some of the pain temporarily.

Another common cause of throat swelling is an allergic reaction. Some people suffer from a sore throat due to a food allergy or food additive. Non-food allergies can also occur, and allergic reactions can range from allergy to insects to medications. For example, an allergic reaction to a bee sting or even penicillin could cause a swollen throat.

If the reason for the swollen throat is not clear, a person should always see a doctor. A persistent sore throat or swelling could be a sign of a serious health problem and should also be checked out. A doctor can examine the throat using x-rays to diagnose inflammation and administer the appropriate treatment.

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