A sore throat is a prevalent problem, especially among children. A sore throat can be very discomforting and painful and it can be even worse when assisted by a sore tongue. A sore throat and tongue is not a rare symptom but can be an indication of some severe problem.
In a sore throat and tongue, tiny blisters appear over the tongue and around throat which causes pain and swelling. (1) The most common cause of a sore throat and tongue are mouth ulcers.
These ulcers may occur due to canker sores, accidental bite, and bacterial infection. They can occur on soft tissues of your mouth from inside such as tongue, inner cheeks and the gums surrounding your teeth.
Signs and symptoms of a sore throat and tongue
The classic symptoms of a sore throat and tongue are painful viral blisters (sores) in the mouth with a sore red throat. If you see blisters on the tongue, lips or throat, it is safe to say that it may be enterovirus. It is also possible to have a fever with chills or sweating along with oral infection.
You may notice the following symptoms –
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Swelling and pain in neck and tongue.
- Sensitivity to spicy and hot food.
- Small, red or white spots on tongue and throat.
- Presence of blisters containing fluid.
- Pain during swallowing.
A minor infection on the tongue isn’t unusual, and it can cause pain and irritation. Inflamed papillae, or taste buds, are tiny and painful bumps that appear after an injury from an accidental bite or irritation from hot foods.
Canker sores can another common cause of pain on the tongue or throat. There are many causes for a sore throat and tongue. Following are some factors that may cause a sore throat and tongue –
- An accidental bite of the tongue.
- Inflammation for papillae of tongue or throat.
- Mouth ulcers.
- Food sensitivity or allergy.
- Vitamin deficiency and anemia.
- A tumor of the throat, voice box, or tongue.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Visit with your doctor for diagnosis and treatment if your condition gets severe from a sore throat and tongue. Your doctor will ask you about any previous sores on the tongue or throat and for how long you have been having symptoms.
Also, your doctor may ask you to go through some blood tests or even a biopsy of the infected tissue. (2)
The doctor will physically examine you by looking at the throat, and likely the ears and nasal passages with specialized instruments and gently palpating the neck for swollen glands (lymph nodes).
It is necessary to determine the cause of infection by analyzing the signs and symptoms before deciding upon the treatment plan. There are various causes for a sore throat and tongue, and different causes require different treatment plans. Some basic treatment options are given below –
- Prescribed antibiotics and painkillers. (3)
- Anti-inflammatory drugs can decrease the inflammation from sores.
- Use lozenges and ibuprofen to reduce the swelling.
- Use an antiseptic mouthwash.
Home remedies for a sore throat and tongue
There are several home remedies which can provide symptomatic relief from a sore throat and tongue. They are –
Salt has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. You can mix salt in warm water and perform gargling 2-3 times a day. You can also use Himalayan salt in place of table salt for more effectiveness.
You can directly consume two tablespoons of honey before bedtime to avoid dryness of throat. Honey has a range of healing properties. It forms a coating on your throat and prevents itching and discomfort from infection.
Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. You can dilute ACV with lukewarm water and do gargles. It will make the throat environment acidic which will inhibit the survival of microorganisms.
You can boil water with crushed ginger and sip the mixture throughout the day. Ginger has excellent anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce swelling, pain and provide relief from infection.
Bone broth can supply essential nutrients and boost your immune system since it contains amino acids and biominerals.
Garlic has an active compound, known as allicin, which has bacteriostatic action. It can boost your immunity. Crush a few fresh cloves of garlic and mix it with honey and consume the mixture till the symptoms of a sore throat and tongue are alleviated.
A sore throat and tongue can be difficult to prevent since it is caused by bacterial and viral infections. If you have a sore tongue caused by an infection, you can speed up the healing process by practicing good oral hygiene such as –
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid drinking hot liquids like tea.
- Increase the consumption of a diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin C.
- Honey can soothe ulcers as it helps retain moisture and speed up the healing process.
- Apply ice on sores.
- Try to drink only cold beverages and eat just soft foods until the sore has healed.
- Try to avoid spicy or acidic foods.
- Salt water gargle at least twice a day is recommended for fast healing and relief from irritation.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- To prevent a sore throat, stay away from people who are suffering from an infectious illness like flu.
When to see a doctor
Usually, a sore tongue and irritation disappear within 14 days. But if a sore throat and tongue doesn’t go after 14 days or frequently recurs then seek for medical help.
A sore throat caused by virus or bacteria is contagious and can be transmitted from one person to another. Usually, mucus, nasal discharge and saliva can contain the viruses and bacteria that can cause a sore throat.
A severe case of a sore throat can lead to tonsillitis, swollen glands or thyroid disease.
Sore tongue goes away with time or treatment. Treatment for sore tongue will be more successful if you avoid foods that cause inflammation of the tongue and practice good oral hygiene.
Cancers of the head and neck can also produce symptoms such as a sore throat and tongue, but symptoms often persist beyond a few weeks even after proper treatment for a sore throat and tongue.
Hoarseness in voice, coughing, trouble in breathing, ear pain or unexpected weight loss may accompany a sore throat and tongue. (4)
Over to you on sore throat and tongue
Usually, a sore throat and tongue can subside on its own within 1-2 weeks. But you can follow home remedies for getting comfort from irritation and accelerating the healing process. Do not ignore the symptoms if it persists over 2 weeks.
Take a healthy diet plan which is rich in calcium and vitamin C. Quite bad habits like smoking at least during the infection.