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What are Throat Blisters?

By M. Haskins
Updated May 17, 2024
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Throat blisters are painful swellings that occur on the soft mucous membranes lining the inside of the throat. The blisters usually are filled with clear fluid or pus and might break open, turning into throat ulcers and causing increased pain. Apart from a sore throat, those afflicted by throat blisters might experience fever and other sickness symptoms as well. Most often, these blisters are caused by various viral infections, such as a cold or flu, but they also can be the result of certain inflammatory diseases or other conditions. With so many possible causes, the only way to be sure of what has caused a particular outbreak is to let a doctor examine the blisters.

Depending on the cause, there are various ways to treat throat blisters. If the blisters are caused by a viral infection such as the common cold, influenza, herpes, chicken pox, mononucleosis or the Coxsackie virus, then medical treatment usually will focus on pain relief. Antiviral drugs are sometimes used, such as when the blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus. The most common bacterial cause of sore throat is strep throat, which is often treated with antibiotics, but it usually causes red or white spots in the throat rather than real blisters. Another cause of these types of blisters is oral thrush, a yeast infection in the mouth that usually is treated with anti-fungal medications.

Taking common pain relievers can alleviate the pain caused by blisters. There also are lozenges, medicated mouthwashes and oral sprays that might give relief. Some can be obtained over the counter, but others need a doctor's prescription. Various home remedies might help as well. These include drinking hot liquids such as tea or clear soup, using an air humidifier, getting lots of rest and gargling frequently with a saltwater solution consisting of 0.5 teaspoons (5 ml) of regular salt mixed with 1 cup (250 ml) of water.

There are ways one can avoid throat blisters or at least reduce the chance of contracting them. Cleaning one's hands often, either with soap and water or a disinfectant, is one of the easiest and least expensive ways of avoiding all kinds of viral and bacterial infections, including those causing this condition. Avoiding contact with people suffering from a sore throat, cold or flu also might help, though in many cases, people will be contagious before they show any symptoms. If the blisters are caused by the herpes virus, there are medical treatments available that might help reduce the frequency and severity of such outbreaks, but they commonly require a doctor's prescription.

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Discussion Comments
By anon962568 — On Jul 24, 2014

I have throat blisters.

By anon930716 — On Feb 05, 2014

It's the worst experience. It is even worse than severe headache.

My throat blisters got odious when I was traveling to my hometown. It was a twenty four hour journey, and I couldn't find a doctor anywhere. The pain was so diabolical that I had to leave the train and get down to a hamlet which was totally unknown to me.

Since then I am so careful that I always keep a prescription of drugs, which will cure my throat without any delay. I cannot take that pain at all.

Last but not least, all the intern doctors these days are not doing their jobs. I hate them and I really don't like them because they simply know nothing here. At least be a doctor for the sake of curing people, not for just being impressive to the patients!

By seag47 — On Aug 07, 2012

Oral thrush sounds terrible! Does it cause blisters only in your throat, or are they all over the inside of your mouth? I have only vaguely heard of this condition, but I've never known anyone who has had it.

By JackWhack — On Aug 07, 2012

@Oceana – I know what you mean! I had blisters in my throat when I had the flu once, and even though they made me miserable, I still didn't want anyone coming near me with that numbing spray.

Instead, I took acetaminophen for the pain. That seemed to help soothe my sore throat a bit, and it brought down the fever a few degrees, as well.

By StarJo — On Aug 07, 2012

Strep throat may not cause actual blisters on your throat, but it is the worst type of sore throat that you can have. I have had it a couple of times, and my throat swelled up so much that I could scarcely swallow saliva!

I also had a high fever. My doctor looked in my throat to check for the white spots of pus, and she saw that I did have them.

Unlike with real blisters, I couldn't feel pain in only the spots that were popping up. I felt pain all over my throat.

By Oceana — On Aug 06, 2012

Blisters in the throat are so painful! I remember having them with a particularly bad cold when I was little, and I hated the treatment just about as much as the blisters, themselves!

My mother got some numbing throat spray, and she told me that it would take away my pain. So, I was all for it. I opened wide and let her spray the stuff onto my throat.

Suddenly, I lost all sensation in not only my throat, but also my tongue and cheeks. My tongue felt like dead weight inside my mouth, and this troubled me very much!

After the numbness wore off, I would not let her reapply the spray. I told her I would rather deal with the painful blisters than feel nothing at all.

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