Home Remedies for Sore Throat Relief
Sore Throat Pain Relief
- Drink warm broths and soups.
- Gargle often.
- Drink lots of water or warm liquids. Keeping the throat lubricated will prevent dryness and irritation.
- Consult a doctor if there is no sign of improvements after 2-3 days.
- Wash hands often.
- Check temperature every 24 hours while a sore throat continues. If temperature exceeds 38.3 C or (101 F) consult a doctor as this could be due to viral or bacterial infection.
- Drink warm honey and lemon drinks.
- Take Ibuprofen every 4-6 hours.
- Wear a warm scarf outdoors in cold weather.
The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines sore throat as “a painful or sensitive condition of the throat exaggerated by swallowing or talking, usually caused by bacteria or viruses; laryngitis; pharyngitis; tonsillitis."
A sore throat can be very painful on swallowing, it can often feel itchy, it may appear red and swollen on examination and can be accompanied by mild coughing, and a hoarse voice. A sore throat can be caused by viruses, bacteria, allergens, irritants, and trauma injuries.
Almost everyone will experience a sore throat at one time or another; young children experience sore throats more often than adults and adolescents. Sore throats commonly occur in the winter months and can be acute or chronic.
An acute sore throat is the most common; they attack suddenly and last for around three to seven days. A chronic sore throat, however, tends to last for much longer and is a symptom of an unresolved underlying condition.
A sore throat can be a symptom of many different conditions; it is often associated with colds and flu, fever and swollen lymph glands. The appropriate treatment will largely depend on understanding the underlying causes.
According to Wikipedia, the most common cause of sore throat is viral pharyngitis. Pharyngitis comes from the Greek word pharynx meaning throat, and the suffix -itis meaning inflammation. It is an inflammation of the throat. In most cases it is quite painful.
Viruses are responsible for 90-95% of all sore throat, the majority of which are caused by cold and flu viruses which causes inflammation in the throat and sometimes the tonsils (tonsillitis). Viral sore throat often includes runny nose, cough, congestion, hoarseness, sore eyes and fever. The level of pain can range from mild to severe. Sufferers may find it difficult to eat, breath, swallow, and speak. Sore throat can be caused by many different viruses including:
- Coxsackie virus
- Mononucleosis often referred to as the kissing disease, mono or glandular fever
Between 5-10% of all sore throats are caused by bacteria. The most common bacterial sore throat are from infection by group A Streptococcus, known as strep throat. Strep throat affects everyone but occurs more frequently in children of school age.
This is a sexually transmitted bacterial disease that can cause a severe sore throat. Having oral sex with someone who is infected can transmit the condition.
Noninfectious Sore Throat
A sore throat can be caused by trauma or injury to the throat, by allergies like hay fever, and irritants and by smoking or breathing in second-hand smoking fumes. It can be the result of heavy alcohol consumption, the breathing of polluted air, chemical fumes, or ingestion of substances that burn or scratches the throat. Some people get a sore throat through mouth breathing as a result of nasal congestion.
It is easy to diagnose a sore throat; the difficult part is in finding out what is causing the soreness. Although most sore throats are relatively minor occurrences with no real complications, a small percent of bacterial sore throats can develop into a severe illness. For this reason, it is advisable to seek medical attention if a sore throat lasts longer than a few days, and especially if it is also accompanied by a fever, nausea or abdominal pain.
A viral sore throat is best left to run its course without the intervention of drugs since antibiotics will have no effect.
When a sore throat is caused by streptococci and other bacteria the condition must be treated with antibiotics and penicillin is often the drug of choice. When someone who is suffering from a sore throat also happens to be allergic to penicillin, an alternative antibiotic will be used.
Oral penicillin must be taken for 10 days, and the entire amount should be taken even after the symptoms of a sore throat has gone. In the case of a chronic sore throat resulting from an underlying condition, it will be necessary to treat the condition to cure a sore throat.
Although the causes of a sore throat are many, there are home remedies such as:
- Gargling can be done with warm double strength tea or warm salt water. Prepare the solution by adding one tsp of salt to 237 ml (8 oz ) of water. Gargling with aloe vera solution can provide quick relief from sore throat symptoms, used frequently it can boost overall health and immunity.
- Drink lots of fluids. Water will keep the body hydrated, especially if there is also fever. Acidic juices should be avoided.
- Sucking popsicles is an excellent way to get children to take fluids, and can cool the mouth to give sore throat relief.
- Soft foods, including nutritious soups. Avoid spicy foods.
- Avoid smoking.
- Rest and avoid strenuous activities until fever has gone.
- Raw garlic is a potent antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties. It is great for colds and flu and also has decongestant and expectorant effects.
- A room humidifier can help to make the atmosphere more comfortable for a sore throat sufferer. The cool mist can improve the air quality to relieve congestion and provide relief.
- Antiseptic lozenges and sprays can help to numb the throat and relieve pain, but it is believed that some of these can also aggravate the throat and worsen the symptoms.
- Ibuprofen can be taken for pain. Aspirin should not be given to children. It can increase the risk of Reye's Syndrome.
- Aromatherapy, including the fragrances of essential oils such as lavender, thyme, eucalyptus, sage, and sandalwood.
- Ayurvedic medicine, traditional to the Indian subcontinent, recommends gargling with a mixture of water salt and turmeric (Curcuma longa) powder or astringents like alum, sumac, sage (do not swallow if pregnant, sage can have an effect on hormones, and can trigger menstrual bleeding and miscarriage), and bayberry.
- Herbs, including osha root (internally for treating infections, but should not be used during pregnancy), ginger root, and slippery elm tea for pain.
- Homeopathic diluted solutions including lachesis (the venom of the bushmaster snake), Belladonna (the most common homeopathic medication), Phytolacca, and yellow jasmine.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Beta-carotene supplements
Herbals to Boost the Immune System
Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
There is a wealth of research into how natural products can support and strengthen the immune system. Siberian ginseng is at the top of the list, as is sterols found in foods like sesame seeds. It is not yet entirely clear just how these foods work, but the consensus is that they do work.
The positive effect of Siberian ginseng, such as coping with stress, is often described in the scientific journals.
It was reported that the Russian cosmonauts took Siberian ginseng to help them deal with tough training and the stress of working in space. Research shows that this herb can have a positive effect on the immune system. It is used widely to counteract infections like flu and the common cold and to speed up recovery from infections.
Eleutherococcus and Echinacea are said to be powerful enough to squash the beginnings of the flu overnight.
How to Check for Strep Throat
- A sudden severe sore throat with no sign of common cold, runny nose, or sneezing
- Spiking fever over 38.3 C. A lower temperature is more likely to be due to a viral infection.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- White or yellow spots or coating on the throat and tonsils
- Bright red throat or dark red spots in the upper mouth near the back of the throat
- Scarlet blotches in the neck or other areas of the body
If a sore throat persists for more than three days, consult your doctor.
Sore throats are common; the cause may be due to a range of viruses or less commonly, a bacterial infection.
There are other causes of painful throat such as allergies, smoking and pollution, but a sore throat can also be a symptom of many serious diseases, therefore; it is vital to seek medical help sooner rather than later. Medical intervention is of particular importance in children especially where symptoms include a high fever, difficulty breathing and neck stiffness. A doctor should be contacted immediately. This article is for information only and is not intended to be used instead of medical advice. Always do your research.
Pregnant women should be particularly cautious with medication, traditional and alternative.
Live long stay healthy!
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© 2013 Jo Alexis-Hagues
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