You’ve probably experienced the symptoms of a sore throat in your lifetime. Itching, scratching, and burning are not pleasant, especially if they’re accompanied by additional symptoms of a cold or a more serious virus. Sore throats can be downright uncomfortable.
Still, in most cases, you can find relief without instantly running to your doctor. Here are ten ways to feel better when a sore throat indications occur:
- saltwater gargle
- steam shower
- raise your head
- over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief
- echinacea/sage spray
1. Gargle with saltwater
Gargling with warm salt water can aid soothe a scratchy throat. The salt pulls the mucus from your swollen, inflamed tissue, and relieves the discomfort.
The Mayo Clinic suggests combining 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of table salt with 4 to 8 ounces of warm water. Stir until the salt melts. Then rinse with it for a few seconds and spit it out. Repeat the salt gargle routine several times each day.
2. Suck on a lozenge
Some over-the-counter (OTC) throat medicines contain menthol, an ingredient that can mildly numb the tissue in your throat. This can provide you with short relief from burning and pain sensations. In a pinch, candies can have an equal effect.
Candy and cough drops raise your saliva production and help keep your throat lubricated. Still, candy and cough drops won’t soothe your sore throat for as long as medicated lozenges or cure it efficiently, and you may find yourself wanting relief again very soon.
“Avoid giving lozenges or cough drops to young kids. Both are a choking hazard.”
3. Try OTC pain relief
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, viruses often cause most sore throats. Viruses can’t be handled with antibiotics, which only kill bacteria. Instead, the virus has to run its course in your body.
OTC nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Aleve) can reduce inflammation and swell in your throat. They can also reduce soreness or scratchiness.
4. Enjoy a drop of honey
Hot tea that is sweetened with honey can aid soothe your irritated throat. Tea also holds you hydrated, which is another crucial step in treating a sore throat. Brew up a cup next time a sore throat begins to tickle.
You might consider taking a green tea, which serves as an antibacterial, pain reliever, and abundant source of antioxidants, as well as help, reduce inflammation.
Honey has extra benefits when you’re sick. Research shows that it’s a productive cough suppressant and works as well as OTC cough medication.
5. Try an echinacea and sage spray
Use several spritzes of a spray containing a combination of echinacea and sage. Research in the European Journal of Medical ResearchTrusted Source discovers this herbal remedy soothes a sore throat entirely as OTC sore throat relief sprays.
6. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is a fundamental part of treating a sore throat. When you are dehydrated, your body can’t create enough saliva and mucus to keep your throat naturally lubricated. This will make the swelling and inflammation more hurtful.
Water is the right choice, as warm teas or warm soups. Hot tea or hot soup, still, may indeed burn your already sensitive throat and make the problem more acute.
Also, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you out even more.
7. Use a humidifier
Breathing in moist air can nourish soothe swollen tissue in your nose and throat. Turn on a cool-mist humidifier to raise the amount of moisture in your room.
8. Give yourself a steam shower
If you don’t possess a humidifier, you can still get relief from moistened air. Breathe in the steam from a warm shower to help decrease swelling and ease the pain of a sore throat.
You can also make steam by running very hot or boiling water into a sink. Drape a towel over your head and bend toward the sink to breathe in the steam. Furthermore, keep taking deep breaths for several minutes and repeat as needed to ease your sore throat.
You might also try boiling some water in a pot on the stove for 30 minutes to raise humidity levels in your house. Add a tablespoon of menthol ointment such as Vick’s VapoRub to the boiling water to fill the area with decongestant menthol aromas.
9. Raise your head
When congestion arises with your sore throat, prop an additional pillow or two under your head. The added height will help you breathe easier. With your congestion relieved, you don’t have to sleep with your mouth open, which can dry out your throat and make it hurt even more.
10. Get a prescription
Viruses are the cause of most sore throats, but sometimes the culprit can be bacteria such as streptococcus, which creates strep throat. If your sore throat doesn’t go away or gets more acute, or you’re running a fever, consult your doctor for a strep test. You might require an antibiotic.
If your doctor does prescribe an antibiotic, complete the entire course. Don’t stop taking medicine, even if your symptoms disappear, and you begin to feel healthier. Stopping the antibiotic could leave some bacteria behind to re-infect your body, and these bacteria that survive may no longer respond to the antibiotics.
Sore throats in children
Sore throats are a common childhood ailment. They’re often provoked by viruses and will get better in four or five days, sometimes a week. If your child is running a fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, visit the pediatrician. A fever could be a symptom of strep throat. Because strep is caused by bacteria, it requires to be treated with an antibiotic.
You can ease the pain of your child’s sore throat with medication such as acetaminophen (Children’s Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Children’s Advil, Children’s Motrin). Just verify with your pediatrician first if your child is less than six months old. Don’t give aspirin (Bufferin) to kids younger than 18 because of the chance of a rare but serious condition called Reye’s syndrome.
Here are some other ways to relieve your child’s throat pain:
- Mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of warm water and have your child rinse with it. Children over the age of 6 are usually old enough to gargle without swallowing.
- Give your child warm liquids, such as chicken broth or tea. Kids over a year old can have a little honey mixed into the tea to soothe their throat.
- Give your child to suck on something cold, such as an ice pop.
Avoid applying sore throat sprays on children. These products carry the anesthetic benzocaine (Anbesol), which can create an allergic reaction in some kids.
One way to stop exposure to the germs that cause sore throats is to wash your hands with warm water and soap throughout the day. Wash your hands whenever you touch common surfaces like doorknobs or keyboards, shake hands, or are exposed to people who usually are coughing or sneezing.
Try to avoid being nearby anyone who’s sick. Don’t share personal things, such as toothbrushes, glasses, and silverware, with anyone else. And keep up your body’s immunity by eating right, sleeping well, and exercising.