As we welcome the summer season, you may think we’ve left colds and flu behind – but sore, itchy throats can strike any time of year. Until you know what is ailing you, it’s best to take it easy and rest your throat. Remember, cold viruses typically don’t respond to medications, but with patience, rest is known to eradicate them.
Besides resting your voice, what other at-home treatments can you use to ease your scratchy throat? Here are few:
“Gargle with warm salt water”
How many times have you heard your mother say that? That’s because it works by not only reducing inflammation by drawing water out of the throat tissue but also killing microbes that may be causing a throat infection. To create this time-honored, proven remedy, combine 1 cup warm water to 1 tablespoon of salt, stir, then gargle for 30 seconds every hour.
Hippocrates Swore By It
Many modern-day medical marvels can be traced back to ancient times. Honey, apple cider vinegar, and warm water combined create an unbeatable trifecta when it comes to easing a sore throat. In fact, Greek Philosopher Hippocrates “swore” by this elixir, and believed in its numerous healing properties. That’s because honey and ACV both possess antibacterial agents – an important component when fighting off the first symptoms of a cold. For an added boost, try locally-grown honey, which has been known to help with allergies.
With the thousands of medicines that line shelves today, one may think the days of natural and holistic remedies are long gone. However, going back to basics with herbal alternative solutions can be advantageous. Just be sure to address this with your primary care physician first, as some herbs can interact with prescription medications. If you can, get your hands on the real deal – herbs from a farmer’s market or produce aisle are often very potent. Ginger, licorice root, honeysuckle flower, and cinnamon all are praised for their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to soothe throat pain. If you’re not an at-home herbalist, ask your pharmacist to recommend a spray, teas, or lozenges that include these ingredients.
Hitting the Medicine Cabinet
If you’re struggling with sleep (or are just trying to make it through the workday), over-the-counter medications may provide temporary pain relief and soothe soreness. Choose the correct formula based on the time of day you’ll be taking it. Talk to your pharmacist about formulas that specifically target a sore throat and chest congestion; many formulas also treat flu and flu-like symptoms, head colds and congestion. Remember, when it comes to medication, it’s never good to overmedicate for symptoms you don’t have.
Steam it Up
Transform your abode into a sore-throat fighting sanctuary. If possible, set up a humidifier; drawing out the dry air and injecting moisture will alleviate any swollen tissues in the nose and throat. Don’t have a humidifier? Don’t fret. Your shower and a closed bathroom door will trap steam and mimic this effect.
When your throat hurts, swallowing can be painful – and the last thing you want to think about is food. Because nourishment is so vital while fighting off a cold, cough, or a sore throat, be sure to treat yourself to wholesome foods. There is a reason chicken noodle soup has long been synonymous with “getting well.” In addition to its soothing warm liquid that hydrates and loosens congestion, its sodium content acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Whether you’re opening a can or making grandma’s favorite recipe, this time-tested broth provides some much-needed sustenance.
When you feel better – or if you have the energy now – remove any irritants from your living space, and avoiding cigarette smoke and harsh cleaning products, which may add to your discomfort. Be sure to clean air filters, vacuum, and get your HVAC serviced seasonally.
Just in Case…
Most sore throats will subside on their own, however, keep in mind that nearly one-third of all sore throats result from strep. If you or your child has pain lasting longer than a few days – it’s time to head to your urgent care center or primary care physician for a strep test. Harnessing a quick swab of the throat, the lab results will reveal if a bacterial infection is indeed the culprit.
Getting same day, convenient appointments with primary care physicians can be problematic, and since sore throats can’t be scheduled, urgent care centers like Tots N’ Teens Pediatric Urgent Care offer a convenient solution. Their expert staff is known for treating children’s illness with a warm bedside manner and the most cutting-edge technology available. Plus, they welcome walk-ins with open arms. For more information, call their office at 210-267-5411.