Simple Ways to Soothe a Sore Throat
It's that time of year when we get sick more often than we would like. One of the worst things is the scratchy, painful feeling of a sore throat. There are several things you can do to help ease a sore throat at home. If it does persist, you should seek advice from your doctor as it may be something more serious and require medication. These are some simple techniques you can use at home to help ease the pain and discomfort of a sore throat.
- Ibuprofen - Ibuprofen pain relievers such as Advil and Motrin reduce inflammation. By taking the dosage recommended on the bottle, or prescribed by your doctor, you can reduce the irritation to mucous membranes which send pain signals to the brain.
- Saltwater - It's one of the most common treatments around, as well as the most inexpensive. Gargle 4 more more times a day with 1/2 tsp salt to 4 oz. water. The salt in the warm water will reduce phlegm and ease the scratchiness of an irritated throat.
- Popsicles - Not only are these yummy, but allowing small pieces of the frozen ice pops melt at the back of the throat will help numb the pain of a sore throat. Some doctors also say that the sugar in them helps soothe the throat also as well as calms the coughing that is often associated with it.
- Steam - Steam helps clear mucus from your nasal passages. Clearing the mucous will help prevent post-nasal drip that is a common cause of sore throat discomfort. Several times a day fill your sink with very hot water. Placing a towel over your head to lock in the steam, lean over the sink and breath through your mouth, inhaling the steam for several minutes. Also, running a humidifier to decrease dry air in the home will help make you more comfortable.
- Herbal Tea - Herbal teas are generally soothing, but certain types such as marshmallow root, licorice root or slippery elm bark teas will coat the membranes, reducing throat pain. You can find these teas in most health food stores.
- Listerine - Fortunately Listerine now comes in much better tasting flavors than just the strong, burning medicinal taste it used to. It is still very strong, but tolerable now. Listerine kills germs and the cooling affect it leaves you with can help reduce pain as well. At the first sign of a sore throat gargle 4-8 times a day, tipping neck and head back to ensure the Listerine is hitting the back of the mouth and throat where it is sore.
- Hard Candy - Sucking on hard candies can reduce dryness which can lead to throat pain and coughing which can irritate a sore throat. The sugar is also said to help in soothing and reducing the cough as well.
- Hot Fluids - Hot fluids such as chicken soup or broth or hot chocolate or tea are relaxing and the heat seems to loosen things up to reduce irritated membranes. Plus the hot fluids can feel good on a sore throat.
- Cold Juice - Ice cold juices can be soothing for an irritated throat as well as hot fluids. Orange juice gives an added punch because of it's high vitamin C content or you could try grape, pomegranate or cranberry for their antioxidant benefits.
- Supplements - Supplements are recommended on a daily basis, but it is especially important to take them when you are sick in any way. When you're body is fighting an infection or virus, it takes a lot out of it. You can support your body's immune system and give it a boost by supporting it with a multi-vitamin.
Again, if the sore throat is accompanied by a fever or persists or gets worse, you should see your doctor for treatment. These are only tips to help reduce the pain, scratchiness and irritation associated with a sore throat.