Remedies for a Sore Throat
You’ve likely experienced the symptoms of a
sore throat in your lifetime. Itching, scratching, and burning are not fun,
especially if they’re accompanied by other symptoms of a cold or a more serious
virus. Sore throats can be downright miserable. However, you can find relief, without
immediately running to your doctor (in some cases) to find it. Here are eight
ways to feel better when a sore throat sets in.
Gargle with Salt Water
Gargling with warm salt water can help soothe
a scratchy throat. The salt pulls the mucus out of your swollen, inflamed
tissue and helps relieve the discomfort.
Do you have a remedy for sore throats?
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should
combine 1 teaspoon of table salt with 8 ounces of warm water. Stir until the
salt dissolves, then gargle with it for several seconds. Spit it out, and
repeat the salt gargle several times each day.
Use a Lozenge
Some over-the-counter throat lozenges contain
menthol, an ingredient that can gently numb the tissue in your throat. This can
provide you with temporary relief from burning and pain sensations. In a pinch,
peppermint candies can have the same effect. Candy and cough drops increase
your saliva production and help keep your throat lubricated. However, the
benefits from candy and cough drops won’t last as long or be as effective as
medicated lozenges, and you may find yourself needing relief again soon.
Avoid giving lozenges or cough drops to young
children. Both are a choking hazard.
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Try OTC Pain Relief
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, viruses
cause most sore throats. Viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics. Instead,
the virus has to run its course in your body.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines,
such as Advil or Aleve, can actually reduce inflammation and swelling in your
throat. They can also reduce any soreness you may experience — an additional
benefit for healing a scratchy throat.
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Enjoy a Drop of Honey
Warm tea that is sweetened with honey can
help soothe your irritated throat. Tea also keeps you hydrated, which is
another important step in treating a sore throat. Brew up a cup next time a
sore throat starts to tickle.
Honey has another benefit when you’re
sick. Research shows that
honey is an effective cough suppressant, even when compared to prescription
Other warm fluids, including soup, can also
help you find some relief. Just make sure all the food and drinks are warm, not
hot. Hot tea or hot soup may actually burn your already sensitive throat and
make the problem worse.
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Staying hydrated is an important part of
treating a sore throat. When you’re dehydrated, your body can’t produce enough
saliva and mucus to keep your throat naturally lubricated. This will make the
swelling and inflammation worse. When you have a sore throat, you need even
more fluids to help ease the pain. If you get dehydrated, you’re creating a
bigger problem. Water is great, as are warm teas or warm soups.
Use a Humidifier
Breathing in moist air can help soothe
swollen tissue in your nose and throat. A humidifier is a great way to increase
the humidity in your room. You can buy humidifiers at most retailers. The
machine slowly adds moisture to your room, and when you breathe in the humid
air, you’ll help relieve dryness. Over time, this relief will ease the
discomfort in your throat. However, be careful not to get the air in your room
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Give Yourself a Steam Shower
If you don’t have a humidifier, you can still
get relief from moist air. Steam inhalation from a shower or sink filled with
hot water can help reduce swelling and ease the pain of a sore throat.
While in a warm shower, take deep breaths.
You can also create steam relief by running very hot water in a sink. Drape a
towel over your head and lean into the sink to breathe in the steam. Keep
taking deep breaths for several minutes, and repeat this as necessary to ease
your sore throat.
When You Need a Prescription
Viruses cause most sore throats, but
bacteria, such as streptococcus, which causes strep throat, may be the cause of
a sore throat. An antibiotic can help get rid of the bacteria and provide
relief. If your sore throat isn’t gone within a week, or if it gets worse and
leads to a fever, you may have a bacterial infection and need a prescription.
If you are prescribed an antibiotic, be sure
to complete the entire dose. Do not stop the medicine, even if the symptoms
disappear and you begin to feel better. Without taking the full course of
medicine, you may relapse with an even worse sore throat.
When to See a Doctor
You don’t have to suffer through a sore
throat. Plenty of over-the-counter and home treatment remedies can help you
find relief when the pain and discomfort from a sore throat take hold.
Still, it’s important to remember that not
every sore throat will go away on its own. If you experience severe pain when
swallowing, develop a high fever, or begin vomiting or feeling nauseous, you
may want to make an appointment with your doctor. Your sore throat may actually
be a sign of a bigger problem.
You Asked, We Answered
- Which types of teas and soups are best for a sore throat?
water is what provides the relief. Any tea that you like can be used, such as chamomile,
peppermint, oolong, or jasmine. Adding honey will contribute to the soothing
effect on the sore throat thanks to its consistency and the fact that it will
“stick” or line your throat.
are very effective — again because of the warm water and their contents and
consistency. A clear chicken or beef broth will also work well. The salt in the
soup will help loosen the mucus and any fat in the soup will line the throat.
– Dr. George Krucik