Sore throat typically leads to irritation, itchiness and pain. This pain may become worse when you swallow, making it difficult to consume foods and liquids. Even though a sore throat may not be very serious, it can yet be painful and prevent you from having sound sleep. There are at-home remedies which may help to soothe irritation and pain. The remedies discussed here can help to ease mild sore throat. But when it is severe sore throat or it gets worse, you should book an appointment with the doctor to know about the most common cause of a sore throat and get treated accordingly.
Home remedies to treat sore throat
Here are some remedies that may help to lessen the symptoms of a sore throat.
- Honey – When you take honey or it is mixed with tea, this is a common remedy for treating a sore throat. Honey is very effective like cough suppressant dextromethorphan for coughs in children. Taking honey can help to relieve the symptoms than other treatments such as antibiotics and antihistamine diphenhydramine.
- Saltwater gargle – You may gargle with warm and salty water to soothe a sore throat. This can break down the secretions and lessen bacteria in your throat. Prepare a saltwater solution with half teaspoon of salt to one glass of warm water. Then gargle with it to lessen the swelling and keep your throat clear. People suffering from a sore throat need to perform a saltwater gargle for at least once an hour.
- Gargle with baking soda – Though saltwater gargle is used more commonly, gargling with baking soda and saltwater mixture may relieve sore throat pain. This oral solution is a great way to lessen bacteria and prevent further growth of fungi. You should gargle and swish gently with a combination of one cup warm water, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
- Chamomile tea – This is naturally soothing for the treatment of a sore throat and can be used for medicinal purposes. It consists of anti-oxidant, astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. This chamomile powder can help to ease inflammation in the eyes, throat and nose. Drinking chamomile tea has similar benefit and stimulates immune system to help your body in treating the infection caused due to a sore throat.
- Peppermint – It is very popular due to its ability for fresh breath. It comprises of anti-inflammatory properties with antiviral and anti-bacterial qualities. Peppermint contains compound menthol for thinning the mucus and treating coughs and sore throats. Though different types of peppermint teas are there, you can prepare your own. Put dried peppermint leaves in boiled water and allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes. After a few minutes, strain the tea and let it cool slightly. Diluted peppermint oil sprays may ease sore throats. Mix some drops of food-grade peppermint oil with 1 ounce of plant-based oil, such as almond oil, olive oil and softened coconut oil for preparing a spray.
- Fenugreek – Fenugreek herb is available in various forms and you can eat seeds and apply fenugreek oil to your skin or drink the tea. This tea is a common remedy for treating sore throats. Other benefits include – get rid of bacteria causing inflammation or irritation and lessen pain including menstrual cramps. It helps in promoting lactation and serves as effective antifungal.
- Marshmallow root – This is a kind of herb containing mucilage for soothing your sore throat. Marshmallow root can be helpful for the irritation of respiratory tract which may include a sore throat. Marshmallow root is available as herbal tea, dried and in capsule form and as tincture.
- Licorice root – Licorice root has been used for treating sore throats. This licorice root tea had been most effective for inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus pyogenes. The use of licorice root lozenges may help to lessen sore throat after surgery.
- Slippery elm – This contains mucilage and forms slick gel when mixed with water for soothing your throat. Pour boiling water over the powdered bark and then stir it for using slippery elm. Slippery elm is a traditional solution for sore throat though it can slow down the absorption of certain oral medications. In order to prevent drug interactions, use slippery elm for at least one hour after taking your oral medications.
- Garlic – Garlic consists of natural antibacterial properties and allicin, a compound known for its ability to fight off viral infections. Take garlic supplements daily to treat and prevent upper respiratory tract infections. These same respiratory tract infections may possibly lead to a sore throat. You can add garlic to your diet and enjoy the benefit of its antimicrobial properties. Chew or such on garlic clove and brush teeth afterward to improve your breath and protect them from enzymes.
- Cayenne pepper or hot sauce – Cayenne pepper has capsaicin which is natural compound for blocking pain receptors. It is generally used in the form of a pain reliever. The indigestion of cayenne with warm water and honey may help in treating sore throat pain. Begin with a sprinkle of cayenne or few drops of hot sauce, as both can be extremely hot. Avoid cayenne when there are open sores in your mouth.
- Soup or broth – Chicken soup is an effective remedy for throat and respiratory conditions. The activity of different immune cells may lead to inflammation, including a sore throat. The soup has the ability to decrease migration of definite immune cells, neutrophils, in the laboratory setting. Besides, it inhibited migration of the cells and specific chicken soup brands differ in their inhibitory activity. Chicken soup can have psychosocial benefits which mean it can help you to feel better mentally in the healing process.
- Humidity or steam – Dry air may cause irritation to a sore throat. For example, inhaling steam can ease a sore throat. For this, you need to add boiled water to a bowl and drape the towel over the head so that you can breathe normally. Allow steam to enter through your nose and mouth and do it at least 10 to 15 minutes. Another option is to turn the shower hot and close the door of your bathroom. When the bathroom steams up, try to inhale warm and humid air. Add moisture to the air by means of a humidifier. But a humidified air won’t show any benefits for treating common cold.
- Take proper rest – If you have a sore throat or you think it is just coming, then try taking it easy with sufficient sleep. When you suffer from sleep loss, this increases the risk of getting an infection. Extreme sleep loss for even one night can enhance inflammatory proteins known as cytokines. It is also good enough to give rest to your voice. Certain actions include – talking loudly, shouting or singing which can further cause irritation to your tender throat.
Remedies to treat sore throat for infants and children
Sore throats in infants and young children are not a funny thing. The positive news is that they hardly denote a medical emergency on their own. Still, infants and children may need different treatments than adults.
You can try out these tips as these are some of the best ways to prevent sore throat:
- Add cool-mist humidifier to your kid’s room. The presence of moisture in the air may relieve sore throat pain
- Keep your child in proper hydrated by asking them to drink water often. Avoid ice pops or juices since these are acidic and can cause irritation
- Children below 5 years should not take hard lozenges that might pose a choking risk.
- Do not give honey to kids below 1 year as this may lead to infant botulism.
Traditional OTC treatments
Different OTC treatments can help when natural remedies are not working. These include:
- acetaminophen which is safe for children
- eucalyptus which you will find in throat lozenges and cough syrups
- ibuprofen which is available in formulations for children
- powders you stir in warm water, such as those made with Theraflu
- sore throat pops and throat lozenges which are alternative to throat lozenges for children
- throat numbing sprays, which may contain the compound phenol
What to avoid
If you are suffering from a sore throat, then having exposure to certain foods or environmental factors may worsen the symptoms. When you are recovering, try to avoid these things:
- air pollution
- dry air
- chemical fumes, such as those from household cleaners
- potential allergens such as mold, pet dander or pollen
- spicy foods
- foods that are dry or rough, such as chips, popcorns or pretzels
- acidic foods or drinks, such as tomatoes, carbonated beverages or citrus
It is advisable to see our doctor when you are suffering from severe sore throat. You can always try at-home remedies in case your sore throat is mild and can be treated without a trip to the doctor’s office.
Visit our clinic to book an appointment to get rid of sore throat and relieve the pain quickly.