A Moment of Science

Why Sore Throats Hurt

Ever wonder why sore throats hurt so badly? And why do they occur in the first place?

A girl with a sore throat eats a popsickle

Photo: obo-bololina (Flickr)

A sore throat occurs when the mucus membranes that line your throat become inflamed or infected.

It’s unlikely that there’s been anyone who has never had a sore throat. A sore throat happens when the mucus membranes that line your throat are either inflamed or infected.

Your body’s response is then to send a lot of blood rushing into that area. That way, the white blood cells and antibodies have more access to the area so that they can fight off infection while the damage is repaired.

The problem is that in order to get the blood rushing to those cells, your body releases chemicals that make the blood vessels in the surrounding tissue swell. Unfortunately, all this swelling puts pressure on the nerve endings in your throat and causes pain. Pain is your body’s way of alerting you that there’s something wrong.

If you are suffering from a sore throat, you can always try gargling with salt water. Because salt water is more concentrated than the fluids in your throat, it pulls those fluids right out of the swollen area and reduces the swelling. Less swelling means less pain.

Read More:

  • The Science of Sore Throats (Soundcheck)
  • Antibiotics drastically over-prescribed for sore throats (ScienceDaily)
  • ala123

    Never for a sorethroat try chloroseptic when i used it it just hurt alot more than my throat caused me to cough making it hurt more and it tastes horrid to boot.

  • ala123

    Never for a sorethroat try chloroseptic when i used it it just hurt alot more than my throat caused me to cough making it hurt more and it tastes horrid to boot.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LEI7BAN27OE337KUPNVYW6UPS4 Beeteenee

    Sore throats hurt.

  • hotui

    It hurts worse than it sounds like .

  • paitwua

    I know i had one before.

  • paitwua

    this is the worst thing ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • paitwua

    it hurts when i hear it everywhere!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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