It’s sore throat season again. Or maybe it isn’t. Depends, really, upon the time you are reading this. Sore throats can be a minor irritation or a sign of something much worse, but regardless of the intensity they are almost always painful. The causes of a sore throat can range from a stuffy nose to a bacterial infection. If your sore throat is particularly painful you should definitely visit a doctor, just in case it develops into strep throat. If it is just minor here are a few simple steps you can take to alleviate the suffering.
Gargle with warm water into which you’ve poured some salt. This can be a problem for some people as the as the taste of salty water causes an almost immediately gag reflex. For those who don’t face this problem, the advice is to simply take a cup of warm water and add about a half teaspoon of salt. Gargling this concoction has been a time-honored method of soothing the pain that comes with the soreness. Another good way is to replace the salt water mixture with Listerine or another kind of mouthwash. Of course, this can also produce a gagging in some people. If you do decide to go ahead and take the Listerine route, however, make sure that you don’t drink straight from the bottle if anyone else is going to be using that mouthwash. Sharing a bottle of mouthwash, or even the cup into which you pour it, can result in passing along your infection to anyone else who uses it.
In addition to drinking down warm salty water, any number of hot beverages is good for soothing a sore throat. This is especially good advice for anyone who has trouble gargling. The hot fluids that are best for soothing your sore throat are tea, coffee and even warmed lemonade. In fact, adding lemon to your tea, or if you can stand it the coffee, will provide some extra relief. The effect of drinking down warm liquid is that it serves to coat the inflame tissues inside your throat. This is somewhat similar to the idea of applying a warm compact on a sore joint or muscle.
While you can certainly go to the store and buy some cough drops or medicine, a more pleasant experience would be buying some hard candy and sucking on it. Many physicians have suggested that sugar is useful in soothing a sore throat. In addition, hard candy can also have the extra added benefit of relieving you of that cough that may accompany your sore throat. At the very least, sucking on hard candy is a good way of keeping your throat moist and that will also contribute to relief.
And finally there is good old steam. Put a bowl on the stove and boil it up until it is nice and steamy. Then place it on the table, grab yourself a towel and drape it over your head so that you’ve created a makeshift mini-tent. Letting the steam rise up into your nasal passages and down your throat may seem like one of those old folk remedies that have no place in the modern world of Chloraseptic and ibuprofen, but scientific studies have been conducted to validate the reality that doing this can significantly shorten the life span of your sore throat.