A sore throat is a common symptom of a cold or the flu, and it can be the first sign that you are getting sick. Naturopath Jodi Van Dyk discusses the role of the throat in illness.
The throat is generally thought of as the area at the back of the mouth which sits atop the oesophagus.
At the back of the throat are the tonsils, which are rich in lymphatic tissue. Lymphatic tissue is an important part of the immune system and the tonsils allow the throat to be able to play a surveillance role in relation to bacteria and viruses that may enter the body through the mouth or nose.
Once these ‘security guards’ detect an unwanted particle attempting to enter the body, they will mobilise an attack. The tonsils contain the necessary immune cells to destroy anything that is potentially harmful.
In the process of mobilising this attack, the tonsils may become inflamed, swollen and sore, giving us our traditional sore throat. This is why the sore throat is often the first feature of an infection and why it is seen in many viral infections.
What can cause a sore throat?
- Other viral infections
Chronic sore throat and tonsillitis
A chronically inflamed or sore throat may be an indication that the body’s immune system is struggling to destroy invading micro-organisms.
In naturopathic terms we often find a constant sore and inflamed throat in people who are run down and possibly in need of an immune boost and some rest.
Tonsillitis itself is more than just a sore throat. Tonsillitis is inflammation of the tonsils and is generally due to an infection. The infection may be bacterial or viral in origin.
Tonsillitis can be very painful as the tonsils become inflamed and swollen. Tonsils can reach a large size in some when infected and this can greatly impact on swallowing and sometimes talking.
Boost your immune system: sleep
Good sleep is a restorative factor for the body and helps us to wake feeling re-energised. Getting a good night’s sleep is very important for health and wellbeing.
References available on request