Simply a year ago, a sore throat was relatively commonplace and was usually nothing to worry about. As the novel coronavirus widens its reach, and lockdowns being instated worldwide, sore throats are almost always followed by bouts of fear and panic. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, feeling the slightest bit under the weather automatically creates worry, and people impulsively surmise that they have contracted COVID-19. We understand how stressful this all can be, that’s why HerZindagi exclusively spoke to Dr Dipesh Mahendra Waghmare, a Medical Advisor Executive at Millennium Herbal Care. 

He has compiled a list of distinctions between a random sore throat and COVID-19 sore throat, to help ease your mind and help you to determine the appropriate next steps to take.

Common Sore Throat Is Caused By An Infection

Common Sore Throat Is Caused By An Infection

A sore throat is a common symptom of multiple respiratory allergies, infections and/or diseases. “It is usually caused by an infection like with anyone of a large number of respiratory viruses, entailing influenza, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), adenovirus, including the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) or less commonly found bacteria like Streptococcus pyogenes,” explained Dr Dipesh Mahendra. 

Other Causes Of Sore Throat

Occasionally, sore throats can be a result of other causes, such as allergies, excessively dry air (example, from air conditioning), irritants (example tobacco smoke, pollution), voice strain or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease.

Other Causes Of Sore Throat

Significant Symptoms & Difference

“There is a significant overlap between symptoms of pharyngitis due to influenza (flu), streptococcal and COVID infection. They all can cause fevers, chills, sore throat, cough, muscle/body aches, fatigue, and headache. The major difference is that flu symptoms are often of rapid onset, however, COVID symptoms can be of rapid or more gradual onset,” he said.   

A person with a random sore throat is likely to experience pain or a scratchy sensation in the throat with difficulty in swallowing, also, “there is swollen red tonsils and swollen tender lymph nodes at the front of the neck. White patches or pus can be present on your tonsils with a hoarse or muffled voice. A random sore throat usually does not produce a cough or congestion,” he added. 

Significant Symptoms & Difference

Generalised itchy, scratchy sore throat is one of the most experienced symptoms in a COVID-19 infection, seen in over 10% cases in India. But it can be differentiated, as symptoms like enlarged lymph nodes, swollen tonsils, bad breath, and scratchy voice are not typically seen in patients with COVID-19. 

What Indicates That You Might Have COVID-19 Infection?

“Correspondingly, if you are experiencing cough that is usually dry and leaves you gasping for air along with new loss of smell and/or taste any one of these symptoms may clearly indicate that you might have COVID-19 infection,” Dipesh Mahendra told Hz

If you develop a sore throat, it may not necessarily indicate COVID-19. Seasonal variation and the flu are the prevailing cause of throat soreness (Ayurveda therapies for sore throat) in most of the cases.

What Indicates That You Might Have COVID  Infection

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What To Do? 

“Keeping in mind the current scenario, one should always monitor for other symptoms. But if it’s just a sore throat, and you have been practising social distancing, wearing your mask, and are not in contact with anyone tested positive, you must practise drinking warm water (health benefits of drinking warm water) and maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” he concluded. 

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