If swallowing is making you cringe in pain, chances are you have a sore throat. That scratchy, burning sensation may be part of a bigger problem, such as an infection, cold or the flu, or it could just come from dryness in your throat. Whatever the cause, a sore throat is painful and very irritating. It can turn the simplest things, like eating and talking, into a chore. But the good news is that a sore throat is easily treatable. Below are 10 ways to soothe your sore throat, some common, and some unique.
The key to soothing a sore throat is to constantly keep it moisturized, and the best way to do so is to drink plenty of fluids. This not only soothes the throat, but also washes away any bacteria that may be lingering in that area. Drinking hot fluids, such as tea or coffee, can help with inflammation and just flat-out feels good on a sore throat. Citrus drinks, such as lemonade, orange juice and lemon or lime juice with honey, are also good sore throat soothers.
Other drinks, like milk, sports drinks and water, are also good fluids for a sore throat. However, if your sore throat is cause by a cold or the flu, avoid drinks with caffeine since it is a diuretic and can dehydrate you.
Another good way to keep the throat moist is to suck on throat lozenges, or even cough drops. Many throat lozenges are made with pectin, zinc and vitamin C, which will help boost the immune system if you're feeling under the weather.
After drinking a hot drink, you may want to suck on an ice-cube or ice pops. It's both soothing and refreshing. But if you find that sucking on anything cold is irritating your throat, simply bite off a small piece and let it melt in your mouth.
It may sound unappetizing, but sucking on garlic can stop your sore throat in its tracks. That's because garlic contains a chemical called allicin, which kills bacteria, including the type that causes strep throat. Just take a fresh clove of garlic, cut it in half and put one piece in each side of your mouth. Don't bite the garlic, but mash it with your teeth to release the allicin. This remedy is a good way to prevent sore throats as well.
An old-fashioned remedy that has many variations is a drink of apple cider vinegar, honey and water. Just mix one tablespoon each of honey and vinegar with eight ounces of hot water and drink.
If you think you can stomach something a little stronger, try this Russian remedy: Mix one tablespoon each of horseradish, cloves and honey with eight ounces of hot water and enjoy.
Gargling with salt water at least once an hour can help with inflammation and swelling, and can ease the discomfort of a sore throat. To make the perfect salt water mix, add one tablespoon of salt to one cup of warm water. Gargle with this mixture at least once an hour. If you have post nasal drip, you might want to gargle more often to soothe your throat.
If you want to add a little flavor to the solution, add one tablespoon of sage or a half-teaspoon of turmeric. Both can also help ease inflammation of the throat.
A quick spray of Chloraseptic can numb the back of the throat - but only temporarily. Like gargling, it will have to be administered at least once every hour.
Postnasal drip tends to be a common cause of sore throats, so keeping your nasal passages clear is another way to prevent and ease a sore throat. You can use either a saline nasal spray or a salt water mix. Mix one tablespoon of water with one cup of warm water and put it in a Neti pot or a bulb syringe. Pour the mixture into the nose, one nostril at a time. Hold one finger over the opposite nostril while doing so. Let the excess water drain and then gently blow your nose. Repeat the process two or three times and then switch nostrils.
If your sore throat was cause by a cold, or if you're looking for another way to clear your nasal passages, try breathing in steam. Studies show that it is also effective in making a sore throat go away more quickly. An easy way to inhale steam is to take a hot shower, but you can also heat a pot of water and breathe in the steam from the pot. While leaning over the pot, place a towel over your head to tent the steam. For a more soothing steam, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water.
If all else fails, take some over-the-counter or prescribed medicine for relief. Also, be sure to seek medical attention for chronic sore throat or if the condition has become severe.