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The Big Question: Is It Sore Throat or Snore Throat? (Part 1)

Steven Spainhower | 28 March, 2023


If you haven’t experienced a sore throat, you might not be part of the human race.  One of the commonest ailments of mankind is indeed the sore throat; however its causes are so many that it’s easy to jump to erroneous conclusions of its source.  “It must be a virus!” or “It must be strep throat!”  Without careful examination and astute diagnosing, we not only waste time, but also prolong the suffering and even potentially cause additional health problems. This article gives important information on sore throats, their many causes, and their potential remedies, such as over-the-counter snore stoppers.  Its purpose is not to diagnose or treat you; that’s for you and a qualified medical professional to do together.


Causes of sore throats range from shouting at the referees at a sporting event, to snoring too much during sleep, to gasping for air after stints of sleep apnea, to developing a viral or bacterial infection, or worse—some type of tumor.  If you quickly take the leap that it’s a bacterial infection, you might convince a provider to prescribe an antibiotic, even if the sore throat is caused by a virus (more common) or snoring. If snoring is the problem, there are snore stopping remedies such as nasal strips, anti-snore devices, or CPAP.  


Most providers will diagnose a viral infection—unless there are clear signs of a bacterial one— saving you from ingesting a regimen of unnecessary and potentially harmful antibiotics.  The antibiotic will do no good against a virus; in fact, it will likely upset the normal flora of the gut: the healthy balance of “good” bacteria and “bad” bacteria.  Antibiotics are also known to create “super bacteria,” which have mutated to become resistant to the function of an antibiotic when you really need it to work.  You can see how guessing the cause before accurate diagnosis can delay recovery, bring frustration, and even harm to your body.


Let’s start with overuse of the throat.  Shouting, singing or talking too much are often the culprits in making our throats sore.  This speaks to straining of the vocal cords, aka laryngeal folds, where the inflammation happens.  The result is a sore throat, hoarse or vanished voice, or both.  School teachers routinely experience this after the first day of school.  During the summer break, most teachers’ voices are out of condition; and suddenly the larynx is called into action on the first day of school with a new group of students.  Inflammation occurs; thankfully, throat lozenges (cough drops) give some relief.  Resting the voice after school, and monitoring the speaking volume for a couple of days usually get the voice box into shape for daily management of classrooms.


Another cause of sore throat is snoring.  Snoring happens when breathing is partially restricted either by the nasal passages or the tissues at the back of the throat. If the tongue is resting back toward the throat, it can make the path for breathing smaller; thus causing vibration of throat tissues, dryness, and irritation.  About half the population of middle-aged adults do some impressive snoring, so a dry, sore throat is quite common; fortunately, snore guards can help.