Unique Remedies For A Sore Throat
If you're like me, the worst part about a cold is that itchy, dry sore throat that always comes after a few days of sneezing and coughing. While there's no true remedy for the common cold aside from rest and time, here are a few tips, some traditional and some new, to help ease this pesky symptom.
Sore throat is caused by nasal drainage and the replication of bacteria in your throat. Gargling helps to numb the throat while killing bacteria and temporarily keeping them from replicating.
Swallowing a tablespoon of honey coats the throat and kills bacteria at the same time. This is a powerful sore throat remedy that most people don't know about!
Avoid Mucous-Producing Foods
Did you know that certain foods actually increase your body's mucous production? Oranges, sugar (via dehydration), red meat, wheat and especially dairy products are just a few of the common foods that can lead to a dramatic uptick in your body's mucous production, which is the last thing you need when fighting a cold. Mucous builds up in the throat, causing irritation and flourishing bacteria, lengthening the duration of your sore throat and increasing its severity.
Get the kind with extra pulp. While the vitamin C found in OJ may or may not actually cut the duration of your illness (the scientific jury is still out on that one), the ascorbic acid found in citrus juices has an abrasive property that is surprisingly soothing to a sore throat. For me, it seems to "burn out" the soreness and keep my throat moisturized, but for others the acidic quality may be irritating.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
This is a good rule of thumb in general but it goes double when you're sick. Often throat pain is caused or exacerbated by dryness, so keeping the throat moisturized is extremely helpful.
This is another good trick for colds in general. Use a saline based sinus wash like the NetiPot to clear out your sinuses and temporarily reliee stuffiness and runny nose. Nasal drainage agitates a sore throat, so sinus rinses have an instant soothing effect.
Stand in the bathroom with the door closed and breathe in the steam from a hot shower or, alternatively, a vaporizer. The steam has a soothing effect and can prevent coughing, which irritates a dry, scratchy throat.