Why does sore throat look red?

Almost every corner of our body is liable to host a bacterial infection, and tissue at the back of the throat is no exception. The redness and pain we associate with a sore throat are symptoms of inflammation that naturally accompany any inflation. And though the redness may look horrid, it’s a signal that the body has been mobilized to oust the invaders.

When human tissue is infected, it responds by becoming inflamed, a condition marked by pain, redness, swelling, heat and loss of function. The specific causes of pain at the infected site – whether in the throat or elsewhere – remains something of a mystery. It is thought that various substances are produced or released locally that stimulate nerves to send a pain signal to the brain. The reddening represents an enhanced blood flow at the site that carries agents from the immune system to fight the infection.

Although the inflammation may produce temporary discomfort, it is actually beneficial. Studies have shown that, though they relieve unpleasant symptoms, anti-inflammatory medicines reduce resistance to dangerous illness.

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