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Why Sore Throats Hurt

A girl with a sore throat eats a popsickle

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.

Swelling Blood Vessels

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.

The most common causes for a sore throat are influenza and the common cold.

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)

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