Sore Throat Treatments – great ways to treat a sore throat
When you are suffering from a sore throat (also known as pharyngitis) all you want to do is ease the pain and discomfort so you can get on with your life. Sore throats have a few different causes (check out my Sore Throat Causes page for more info) and sadly antibiotics won’t work against the viral kind but there are several other sore throat treatments you can try. I have put together a list of some of my favourite sore throat treatments, solutions, recipes and home remedies to help alleviate your symptoms!
1. Take anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, paracetamol or naproxen.
These are all great sore throat treatments. Ibuprofen and naproxen can reduce inflammation and any swelling in the throat while paracetamol is typically used to relieve mild or moderate pain and ideal for sore throat treatments, it will also reduce a fever caused by illnesses such as colds and flu. Please note that children under 16 shouldn’t take aspirin.
2. Drink plenty of Fluids
Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated – this will help ease your irritated throat, thin mucus secretions and aid your whole body in fighting the infection. When you are dehydrated your body is unable to produce enough saliva and mucus to keep your throat lubricated naturally which exacerbates any swelling and inflammation. Warm drinks such as tea, soup or broth are great choices as the warmth helps to soothe pain and reduce your tendency to cough which can cause more irritation. However make sure that all drinks are not too hot as this may actually burn your sensitive and inflamed throat. Chamomile tea has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and mild astringent and sedating qualities so is a great natural sore throat treatment. Green tea is also great as it is high in antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties that kill bacteria and relieve the symptoms. As odd as it may seem it is best to avoid any acidic drinks such as orange juice, citrus, pineapple or colas until your throat is pain free as these may also burn the already inflamed membranes in your throat and intensify the pain. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which may dehydrate you. If you would like some more recipes for sore throat treatments then please check out my best home remedy sore throat recipe page.
3. Get a Humidifier
One of the reasons your throat may hurt is because it is dry. A humidifer will help with this as it will increase the amount of moisture in the air which may help to soothe any inflamed tissue in your nose and throat, help you breathe and keep your throat lubricated.
4. Gargle with warm salt solution
Gargling with warm salty water solution is one of my favourite sore throat treatments. Just dissolve a quarter to a half a teaspoon of table salt in a cup of warm water with a quarter of a teaspoon of baking soda and then gargle but don’t swallow (please be aware children should not do this). If you find the salt too much then you can also dissolve a teaspoon of honey in to the warm water. Salt draws up mucus out of your inflamed throat reducing phlegm and can prevent bacteria from growing. Gargling like this helps to reduce swelling in the throat and loosens mucus build-up helping to flush out any bacteria while the baking soda neutralizes acid and inhibits the growth of yeast. If you would like some more recipes for sore throat treatments then please check out my best home remedy sore throat recipe page. An iodine-based gargle is also an alternative to salt water.
5. Suck on a lozenge or use a sore throat spray
Medicated lozenges and throat sprays may help soothe the symptoms of an inflamed, sore throat as some contain local oral anesthetics, anti-inflammatory drugs or antiseptics which will numb the pain. Lozenges may also help as they encourage saliva production which will lubricate the throat but please note they should not be used by children as they are a choking hazard. Choose sprays and lozenges with a cooling ingredient for extra relief.
6. Add a drop of honey
Adding a spoonful of honey to your warm drinks will help soothe your irritated throat and speed up the healing process as honey has antimicrobial properties – it’s also an effective cough suppressant. If you would like some more recipes for sore throat treatments then please check out my best home remedy sore throat recipe page.
7. Have an ice lolly!
Suck on an ice cube, ice lolly or drink some ice water to numb your throat and relieve the pain.
8. Have a rest and put your feet up
Sleep is a great healer – stay in bed if you can, sleep and relax.
9. Have a steam shower
Get a little relief from the pain by breathing in the moist air in a steam shower, a hot steamy bath or inhale the steam from a bowl of hot water with a towel draped over your head. These will help reduce swelling and ease the pain of a sore throat. If you add some menthol, peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil to the water it will help clear congestion.
10. Have a sweet treat and munch on some marshmallows!
As odd as it may seem but a bag of marshmallows might be just help relieve your sore throat as it it said that the gelatin in the marshmallows coats the throat and soothes any inflammation and irritation. Traditionally marshmallows used to be made from the sap of the marshmallow root and it is also said that marshmallow tea is actually very effective in treating coughs, colds and sore throats. This is one I am definitely going to try!
11. Apple cider vinegar could help
There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that apple cider vinegar can help ease the discomfort of a sore throat as it has antibacterial properties, however it should be diluted with warm water as undiluted apple cider vinegar could burn your oesophagus and stomach lining. If you have sensitive teeth or worn enamel then it is also a good idea to use a straw while having this treatment to prevent further erosion. If you would like some recipes with apple cider vinegar for sore throat treatments then please check out my best home remedy sore throat recipe page.
12. For a natural remedy try an echinacea spray
These have antiseptic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities which will help relieve the pain and fight infection!
13. Wearing a scarf
This is based mainly on anecdotal evidence and my own experience however I often find that if as soon as I find my throat getting scratchy/tickly I put on a scarf and wear it at night the symptoms often disappear more rapidly and the sore throat does not develop any further. There are theories that state that this may be because the temperature of the throat is raised very slightly making the environment more hostile to infection giving your body a chance to fight it.
14. And a few more…
While you have a sore throat avoid smoking and smoky places and drinking alcohol or caffeine which will all irritate and dry your throat out . Also, if you can give your throat a break, then have a few silent hours by cutting down on talking/shouting/whispering which all strain and irritate your throat.
If you have difficulty in breathing, swallowing or find that you are drooling then please consult your doctor urgently.