By Ebi Kesiena
A sore throat can be very uncomfortable. The main symptom is pain and irritation in the throat, especially when you swallow. A sore throat occurs as part of your body’s immune response to viral or bacterial infections.
Your natural immune response leads to inflammation and swelling of the mucous membranes in the throat.
Fortunately, there are several natural remedies that may provide relief, including some that are supported by scientific evidence.
You’ve likely experienced the symptoms of a sore throat in your lifetime. Itching, scratching, and burning aren’t fun, especially if they’re accompanied by other symptoms of a cold or a more serious virus. Sore throats can be downright miserable.
However, in most cases, you can find relief without immediately running to your doctor
Gargle with salt water
Gargling with warm salt water can help soothe a scratchy throat. The salt pulls the mucus out of your swollen, inflamed tissue and helps relieve the discomfort.
You can combine 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of table salt with 4 to 8 ounces of warm water. Stir until the salt dissolves. Then gargle with it for several seconds and spit it out. Repeat the salt gargle several times each day.
Enjoy a drop of honey
Warm tea that is sweetened with honey can help soothe your irritated throat. Tea also keeps you hydrated, which is another important step in treating a sore throat. Brew up a cup next time a sore throat starts to tickle.
You might consider choosing a green tea, which serves as an antibacterial, pain reliever, and rich source of antioxidants, as well as helps reduce inflammation.
Honey has other benefit when you’re sick.
Staying hydrated is an important part of treating a sore throat. When you’re dehydrated, your body can’t produce enough saliva and mucus to keep your throat naturally lubricated. This will make the swelling and inflammation worse.
Water is a good choice, as are warm teas or warm soups. Hot tea or hot soup, however, may actually burn your already sensitive throat and make the problem worse.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dry you out even more.
Give yourself a steam shower
If you don’t have a humidifier, you can still get relief from moist air. Breathe in the steam from a warm shower to help reduce swelling and ease the pain of a sore throat.
You can also create steam by running very hot water into a sink. Drape a towel over your head and lean into the sink to breathe in the steam. Keep taking deep breaths for several minutes, and repeat as necessary to ease your sore throat.
You might try boiling some water in a pot on the stove for 30 minutes to increase humidity in your house. Add a tablespoon of menthol ointment to the boiling water to fill the air with decongestant menthol aromas.
Raise your head
When congestion comes with your sore throat, prop an extra pillow or two under your head. The extra height will help you breathe easier. With your congestion relieved, you won’t have to sleep with your mouth open, which can dry out your throat and cause it to hurt even more.
Get a prescription
Viruses cause most sore throats, but sometimes the culprit can be bacteria such as streptococcus, which causes strep throat. If your sore throat doesn’t go away or gets worse, or you’re running a fever, see your doctor for a strep test. You might need an antibiotic.
If your doctor does prescribe an antibiotic, finish the entire course. Don’t stop taking the medicine, even if your symptoms disappear and you begin to feel better. Stopping the antibiotic could leave some bacteria behind to re-infect you, and these bacteria that survive may no longer respond to the antibiotic.