The Real Reason Allergies Could Be Causing Your Sore Throat

Ah, spring. The warmer, sun-shiny days just make us want to get outside and stay there...and then go back in and hunt for tissues and throat lozenges. If you find yourself with a raw, irritated throat after mowing the lawn or playing with your friend's adorable new kitten, allergies might be the culprit.

Exposure to allergens can result in some pretty nasty symptoms. Whether it's to airborne particles outdoors, like pollen, or other common allergens like dust mites or pet dander, the body's immune response is the same. The immune system identifies a protein in the offending source as an hostile invader, and mounts an inflammatory response to protect you.

Part of that response includes an increase in the amount of mucus produced in the nasal passages. The extra mucus, which includes some allergen particles, can drain down into the throat through a process called postnasal drip (via Prevention).

The effect of postnasal drip on the throat is soreness and irritation, a 'raw' feeling, and inflammation. Sanjeev Jain, M.D., a board-certified allergist and immunologist at Columbia Allergy explains to, "As the mucus drips down the throat, it causes irritation to the mucosa that lines the throat, and this can result in the sensation of a sore throat."

OTC medication as well as natural remedies can help ease symptoms

The best defense against allergies is intentional prevention. Limiting exposure to allergens whenever possible can help stop that sore throat before it happens. Sometimes that's just not realistic though. (Really — it's finally spring!)

If you're exposed to a known allergen and feel the symptoms of a reaction coming on, there are several things that can help. Showering and changing your clothes immediately after coming in from outside is a good idea. Drinking plenty of liquids can help by thinning the mucus, and gargling salt water can soothe the throat. Also, over-the-counter antihistamines such as Claritin or Zyrtec can help manage the worst of it by preventing the body from mounting a histamine-based response to the allergen (via Healthline).

If symptoms get worse or last for a prolonged amount of time, a healthcare provider, such as an allergist, may be able to help pinpoint the cause as well as provide more options for relief.