A sore throat is usually the first sign of a cold. The condition causes pain, irritation or itchiness in the throat. When suffering from a sore throat, the pain may become worse during swallowing, making it very hard to eat and drink properly.
A sore throat happens when membranes in the throat become inflamed or infected. Depending on the cause of the sore throat, you may also experience sore, swollen glands in the neck or jaw.
What Can Cause A Sore Throat?
The condition is usually brought on by a viral infection that can last for up to five days. Viral sore throats are often accompanied by other cold symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing. Most of the time, getting rid of a sore throat does not need medical treatment. Instead it can be resolved by making some lifestyle changes and following home remedies.
But if there are other associated problems like fever or excessive pain, then you can use some mild pain relievers. Or, if the sore throat happens due to a bacterial infection, then your doctor will give you antibiotics.
Sore throat can also be caused by a strep throat. This condition is more severe than a sore throat due to a cold. A strep throat results from an infection due to streptococcus bacteria. This condition is contagious and spreads through contact. Even though symptoms of the two conditions appear similar, those of a strep throat are more severe. Suffering From White Tongue Sore Throat? Causes and Remedies For Quick Relief.
Unlike strep throat, a sore throat will go away on its own. In fact, it does not respond well to antibiotics. Instead getting rid of a sore throat can be achieved by home remedies more effectively.
Other causes of sore throat may include viral illnesses like influenza, mononucleosis, measles and chickenpox.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies to Get Rid Of a Sore Throat
Treatment of a sore throat depends on its cause. But in most cases, some simple home care strategies can help you get rid of a sore throat and relieve your symptoms.
Even though sore throat is not a serious health condition, it can certainly be a very discomforting one. It can make you feel irritated, cranky, and experience a lot of throat uneasiness.
You may decide to try out some home remedies to get rid of a sore throat, but these need to be paired with adequate rest as well. Take ample rest and try to talk less to let your throat heal faster.
Remember that sleep is an important part of the recovery process. Getting quality sleep at night can help the immune system ward off bacteria and recover faster.
Drink Plenty Of Fluids
Because having a sore throat involves pain, inflammation and soreness, it is important to hydrate well. Drinking enough fluids helps keep the throat moist and prevent dehydration.
When doing so, stay away from beverages like alcohol or caffeine which can have a dehydrating effect. Instead stick with warm liquids like broth or caffeine free herbal teas. Warm fluids help thin sinus mucus and permit better drainage. This action also helps in clearing the associated stuffiness.
Consume Foods And Drinks At Moderate Temperatures
Extremes of temperature can also make it harder to get rid of a sore throat. This means that when you throat is irritated, you should take foods and drinks at moderate temperatures.
Foods and drinks that are too cold or too hot can make your throat hurt more. While it is recommended to drink hot teas, they should ideally be on the side of warm. Fluids which are too hot will only burn the throat and cause pain.
Letting food come to room temperature rather than having it too cold or hot can avoid triggering the throat.
Humidify Your Home
A sore throat can often feel dry and add to the irritation. Dry indoor air especially when buildings are heated, can make throats feel itchy and scratchy. This sensation can cause you to breathe through your mouth. Breathing through the mouth for long periods can also bring on a sore throat.
To prevent this from happening, make sure to use a humidifier to eliminate dry air inside the home.
A warm or cool mist indoors can help you feel more comfortable by soothing swollen throat passages. The mist can also help ease some of the hoarseness. However, take care to not let the room become uncomfortably damp or cold.
It is important to keep the humidifier’s tank and filter clean when in use. This will prevent mold growth which can otherwise worsen the symptoms of a sore throat.
If you do not have a humidifier at home, you can also use a shallow pan of water. Place pan in a safe place where no one will trip over it.
Avoid Irritants To Get Rid Of A Sore Throat
It is a good idea to keep your home free from common irritants that can bother your throat. Some of these can include cleaning products, air fresheners and even cigarette smoke.
Some people may be allergic to certain products such as dander, pollen and dust which may cause them to get a sore throat. Plus, outdoor air pollution can trigger ongoing throat irritation.
Inhaling stuff that can irritate the throat will only add to your discomfort.
Gargling with warm salt water is a popular remedy to get rid of a sore throat. The gargling action can help with reducing throat swelling and loosening the mucus. It also helps flush out irritants and bacteria lodged inside the throat.
You will need
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup warm water
To gargle, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water. Gargle twice a day to find relief and get rid of a sore throat. Do not gargle more than two times every day or you could risk drying out soft throat tissue.
Try An ACV Drink
Apple cider vinegar has high levels of acidity which can kill throat bacteria. Add in some honey to your drink to find soothing relief for your irritated throat. To make the drink you will need the following:
- 1 tablespoon ACV
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup warm water
Mix all ingredients together and stir until dissolved. It is best to drink this concoction while it is still warm.
As an alternative, you can prepare this mixture and use it as a gargle instead. Omit the honey when using as a gargle. Use the mixture to gargle two times every day in order to get rid of a sore throat.
Steam It Out
Steaming can help ease sore throat discomfort, especially if your throat also feels dry. Plus, steam will make it easier for you to breathe if you are congested as well. To use steam as a remedy to get rid of a sore throat you will need:
- 1 bowl hot water
- 1 bath towel
- a few drops of eucalyptus oil
Boil water and pour into bowl. Lean over bowl low enough to be able to inhale the steam comfortably. Place towel over your head so that steam stays trapped within. Adding eucalyptus oil is an option that can help soothe the throat while you inhale steam.
You can also take a long, steamy shower to get the same benefits.
Use Some Cayenne
Another drink used to get rid of a sore throat can be prepared with cayenne pepper. The heat from the cayenne peppers may seem counterintuitive to soothing throat pain, but it actually works. This is because cayenne peppers contain a compound known as capsaicin. This compound has pain relieving properties that can help get rid of a sore throat. To make a drink, you will need:
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon honey
To prepare the drink, add the cayenne pepper to the hot water, stir in honey and let the mixture cool slightly. Do not let it get completely cold before drinking but keep it a little warm. Drink up slowly.
You can take a bit at a time instead of drinking it all at once. Just remember to stir it before every use since cayenne will settle to the bottom of the glass. If the heat is too much to handle, reduce the amount of cayenne.
Spice It Up With Cinnamon
While cayenne is one type of spice, cinnamon is another. Cinnamon can be used to spice tea and relieve the pain of a sore throat. It has a high antioxidant content and its aroma can open up sinuses.
Opening up the sinuses can help lower mucus production and let you breathe easier. Cinnamon can be used with other ingredients to maximize benefits for getting rid of a sore throat. Or, you can use it on its own. To make cinnamon water you will need:
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- Your preferred herbal tea
Add cinnamon to boiling water. Continue boiling for 3 minutes. Remove cinnamon and steep liquid with an herbal tea of your choice. Drink up to get rid of sore throat.
Baking Soda Gargle
Baking soda comes with antibacterial potential which can target bacteria settled in the throat. Baking soda also has a slightly alkaline pH that can soothe and relieve swollen tissues in the throat. To prepare the gargle you will need:
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Heat water until warm enough to drink, but not too hot. Add in salt and baking soda and stir well. Use the mixture as a gargle at least two times a day to get rid of a sore throat.
Prepare A Honeysuckle Tea
Honeysuckle has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its healing properties. It possesses bacterial fighting features that can help get rid of a sore throat. Other than treating a sore throat, honeysuckle is also used for many other throat issues like cough and flu symptoms. To make the tea use the following ingredients:
- 2 cups honeysuckle flowers and leaves
- 4 cups water
- Honey or lemon
Where available, use fresh honeysuckle for maximum benefits. But if you do not have access to fresh honeysuckle, you can buy it at a health store. Simmer honeysuckle flowers and leaves in boiling water for 10-12 minutes. Strain and add honey or lemon to your tea. Enjoy the warm tea to soothe your throat.
Another natural remedy to get rid of a sore throat is to drink up chamomile tea. Chamomile contains some components that kill bacteria while others act as a natural pain killer. It also possesses anti spasmodic features that help relax throat muscles and relieve the discomfort of sore throat. To make this tea, you will need:
- 1 bag chamomile tea
- 1 cup boiling water
Bring water to a rolling boil. Add in tea bag and cover. Let tea steep for about 10 minutes before drinking. If you want to, add in some honey for a mildly sweet taste.
No throat treatment is complete without a ginger remedy in the list. Ginger is well known for its medicinal and healing value. To treat throat problems, ginger acts as an expectorant. This means it can help loosen excess mucus from the throat and expel it from the system.
This action is also effective in flushing out toxins and bacteria from the throat. And if this is not enough, ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties that can target the swelling in the throat. To prepare a ginger tea, use the following ingredients:
- Fresh ginger root
- 2 cups water
Slice ginger in small pieces and add to boiling water. Let the mixture boil for a few minutes before pouring into a cup. Add in some honey for flavor and enjoy ginger tea soothe the throat.
Honey As A Remedy To Get Rid Of A Sore Throat
Honey has long been used as a treatment to get rid of a sore throat. Honey has anti-bacterial properties and the potential to extract water from inflamed throat tissue. Honey can be added into other infusions to improve flavor or may be used on its own to treat a sore throat.
When combined with lemon, honey can yield excellent results to get rid of a sore throat. To prepare a lemon honey treatment, you will need:
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 teaspoons hot water
Mix all ingredients together into a paste and take by spoonful to relieve your throat.
Another option is to mix honey and lemon in a cup of warm water and take it as a drink throughout the day. This astringent drink will help shrink swollen throat tissue and create an acidic environment to retard bacterial growth.
Use Lozenges Or Hard Candy
Suck on lozenges or cough drops to get rid of a sore throat. You can also use hard candy to keep the throat moist. Lozenges and drops sometimes contain topical anesthetics that can relieve throat pain temporarily. Those with menthol feel refreshing and relieve some sore throat symptoms.
Likewise, hard candy can be helpful in stimulating saliva production to keep the throat moist. A lubricated throat feels better than a dry one.
Garlic Remedy To Get Rid Of A Sore Throat
Garlic is a natural remedy for treating inflammation. It can also be used to target throat inflammation when you suffer from a sore throat. Garlic contains the compound allicin, which gets released when raw garlic is crushed, cut or chewed.
Allicin can kill bacteria, and fight germs that cause irritation and pain in the throat. This remedy may not be for everyone since garlic has a very strong and pungent taste. To decrease the intensity of the taste, you could first microwave a clove or two for 10 seconds.
Then either crush the garlic before chewing, or place a whole clove in the mouth. Suck on it like a lozenge and grind the teeth against it to release allicin. You can try this remedy to get rid of a sore throat once every day.
Licorice Root Tea
Another home remedy to get rid of a sore throat is to brew up some licorice root tea. Licorice root has anti-viral and anti-inflammatory features that can help with lowering throat swelling and irritation. The same can also soothe mucus membranes of the throat.
You can get licorice tea at health stores or make your own at home. For this concoction, you will need:
- 1 cup dry licorice root- chopped
- 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
- 2 tablespoons cloves
- 1/2 cup chamomile flowers
Mix all ingredients in a jar and store for future use. To make tea, take 3 teaspoons of the tea mixture and add to 2 cups of water. Bring to boil and steep for another 10 minutes. Strain tea and pour into mug to enjoy.
Whole Cloves To Get Rid Of A Sore Throat
Cloves have been used to treat different types of mouth discomfort including toothaches. They can also be used to address the discomfort of a sore throat. Cloves contain an active ingredient called eugenol which is a natural pain killer.
Eugenol also has anti-bacterial features that can target throat bacteria. Chewing on cloves releases eugenol that can numb throat pain and give you some relief.
To use this remedy, suck on a clove or two until it becomes soft. Then chew on it as you would on gum. Repeat as needed.
To use cloves as a remedy, only use whole cloves and not clove oil since the latter can upset the stomach.
Pomegranates have many health benefits and can treat many conditions. They are choke full of antioxidants and contain astringents. Astringents are especially beneficial for contracting tissues that can relieve swelling and help with pain management. To get rid of a sore throat, you can make pomegranate tea or drink pomegranate juice.
To make the tea, you will need:
- 1 pomegranate
- 3 cups water
Start by peeling the pomegranate and collecting the rinds. Boil rinds for 15 minutes. Use the mixture as tea or as a gargle.
Sage was used for its medical value long before it became a culinary ingredient. It has astringent properties that causes throat tissues to contract. This contracting action can help abate throat swelling. The phenolic acids found in sage can target bad bacteria which could be affecting your sore throat.
You can use a sage gargle to get rid of your sore throat by doing the following:
- 2 teaspoons dried or fresh sage leaves
- 1 cup boiling water
- pinch of salt
Boil water and pour over sage leaves. Cover and let steep for about 20 minutes. Strain tea, add salt and gargle as needed.
How to Prevent a Sore Throat
Many underlying causes of sore throats are infections. Still, there are measures you can take to get rid of a sore throat. For example, practicing daily hygiene such as hand washing can kill bacteria that causes infections. You can also take other steps which can minimize exposure to bacteria and germs.
To prevent a sore throat make sure to do the following:
- Do not share drinking glasses or utensils especially if some is sick with a sore throat at home.
- Use a hand sanitizer whenever and wherever soap and water isn’t available.
- Try to limit contact with commonly touched surfaces.
- Reduce your exposure to common allergens and irritants. These can include dust, pollen, mold and cigarette smoke.
- Use a humidifier to prevent an overly dry indoor atmosphere.
When Should You See A Doctor?
If your condition is due to a cold, you should be able to get rid of your sore throat by using home remedies and resting. But if you experience other symptoms and associated problems, you should go see your doctor.
These symptoms can include having a fever for longer than a week. If you experience breathing or a lump in the neck, see a professional.
Other problems like joint pain, earaches, rashes and voice hoarseness lasting more than two weeks also require medical attention.