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While you are still waiting for your doctor’s appointment, there are plenty of home remedies and natural ways that you can use to help your sore throat. So let's jump straight into some science-backed methods to help you...
Causes of Sore Throat
A sore throat can be caused mostly by viruses such as cold or flu virus. However, there are some slightly more serious causes of sore throat that include tonsillitis, streptococcus throat, and infectious mononucleosis. Other causes may include smoking, mouth breathing at night, pollution, and allergies to pets. However, you must not forget that sore throat can be an early symptom of COVID-19 usually appearing in the first week of illness and then improving afterwards. Sometimes, sore throat symptoms are associated with some tumours that require urgent medical attention. So, if your sore throat symptoms are now present for a very long period of time. You know what needs to be done and see your doctor immediately.
Symptoms of Sore Throat
Sore throat symptoms include an itchy and dry sensations in the throat, difficulty in swallowing food, sore swollen glands in the neck or jaw, a hoarse or muffled voice and sometimes a whitish patch over your tonsils.
However, bacterial causes of sore throat can be treated with the help of medications like antibiotics. In most cases, viruses are the main culprit and symptoms associated with them generally resolve after following an incubation period and do not require the use of antibiotics and antivirals. There are certain home remedies that you can follow to ease your pain and swelling associated with a sore throat.
One of the recent researches concluded that honey is an effective way to help relieve sore throat symptoms as it has soothing properties that can help start the process of healing. With that, it is recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that if your sore throat symptoms are associated with cough, then honey can often be a useful natural aid in your recovery.
By simply adding two tablespoons of honey to a warm glass of water or tea and drinking it as needed throughout the day can help you with that itchy sensation in the throat.
Its often an age old remedy suggestion from elders but there are now known benefits of saltwater gargles, especially when the salt solution can pull out the mucus from the throat and thus relieve the discomfort. Mayo Clinic recommends using ½ to ¼ teaspoon of table salt to 8 ounces of water and stirring till the salt completely dissolves and to be used for gargling. Saltwater gargling is advised only twice a day to avoid dehydration and exacerbating irritation that can beassociated with the salt if it is over done.
Since olden times chamomile tea has been an effective therapy for relieving sore throat symptoms like redness and throat pain. All of this has been possible because of its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. If you have symptoms of cough and sore throat, then chamomile tea should be your go-to drink because it also has antispasmodic properties. In addition, it is a caffeine-free drink. Therefore you can drink it all day long - well in moderation ofcourse!
Peppermint is another herbal drink that can help to soothe a throat. It has been proved that herbal teas are effective for the management of streptococcus pyrogens infection, a bacteria that can cause sore throat and pharyngitis. Herbal teas have proven antibacterial and antiviral properties that can reduce the itching and inflammation associated with infection. One thing associated with peppermint is its effective decongestant and cooling properties associated with menthol’s property of breaking up the mucus.
Marshmallow root has been one of the oldest remedies for sore throat. It contains a mucus-like substance that coats and soothes the throat and relieves the pain. To get the benefits of marshmallows, you need to make a tea by adding dried root of marshmallows in a cup of boiling water. You would be surprised to see that sipping this tea 2-3 times a day can help ease throat pain. However, people with diabetes should always consult their doctor before starting this remedy, as it can cause alterations in blood sugar levels.
Licorice root can help boost the immune system and helps with throat infections because of its antiviral properties. In addition, it helps fight against viruses that can cause respiratory illnesses. You can make licorice tea at home by micing one dry chopped licorice root with ½ cup cinnamon chips, two tablespoons whole cloves, ½ cup chamomile flowers, ¼ cup dried orange peel. Mix these ingredients and put them into hot boiling water, and bring it to boiling point with medium heat for the perfect tea. You can later add honey that can also help you with your symptoms and brings taste.
Slippery elm contains a mucus-like substance that the human digestive system cannot degrade. Therefore, it is used to cover the throat and soothes the inflammation and, hence used in many brands of throat lozenges.
Fenugreek tree is a natural remedy for sore throat. It can do so by relieving the pain and killing the bacteria that can cause inflammation. You can consume it in many different forms. If you want to make a mouthwash for gargling twice a day, it’s the best remedy to try at home. Boil a litre of water with fenugreek seeds at low flame until the colour of the water changes, remove it from flame and allow it to cool down. You can then use it to treat your sore throat.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar is acidic and can kill the bacteria in the throat, and that’s how it can help relieve the infection. In addition, it has many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also coats and soothes the throat. It would help if you make a solution with 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and salt to warm water and use it for 20-30 seconds two to three times a day for sore throat relief.
Garlic has a natural tendency to fight infections. When crushed, raw garlic releases a compound called allicin that serves antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. The best way to treat your sore throat is to chew on a raw clove or take a clove and suck on it for 15 minutes. However, you would always want to brush your teeth afterwards as it may leave you with some bad breath!
Medications for Sore Throat
There are certain over-the-counter medications that you can try if your sore throat symptoms are disturbing your daily activities. Some of these medications include:
However, such drugs should be used with caution in teenagers and children.
There are pain-relieving therapies available that can help with your aching throat. These includes
- A numbing spray containing phenol for your throat pain, or a cooling agent like menthol or eucalyptus
- Throat lozenges
- Cough syrup
There are plenty of things that you can do to prevent the development of a sore throat and that includes:
- Staying away from people who are already suffering from infections like the flu or strep throat.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Try to avoid spicy or acidic food.
- Stay away from pollution and smoke, which can irritate the throat and cause inflammation.
- However, you must always consult your doctor if your symptoms are worsening and things are getting out of hand.
So, you've seen some tips you can follow in order to get rid of your sore throat symptoms effectively and immediately. Don’t forget to share it with your friends and keep coming back for more useful weekly health tips like this. Peace out!
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