What causes a sore throat?
Sore throats are the most common ailments during winter and are characterized by pain, itchiness, or irritation of the throat.
The common causes of sore throat include:
Several home remedies may cure pain and other symptoms associated with a sore throat; however, it is imperative to note that these are not effective against bacterial infections, such as strep throat. For sore throats caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics are the first line of treatment. These home remedies are effective only for pain relief and not for clearing the bacterial infection completely.
16 home remedies for sore throat pain relief
16 home remedies for a sore throat include:
- Saltwater gargle: Take half to one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth with the same. Avoid swallowing the salt or using excess salt, as it may dry out the throat membrane. Saltwater gargle cleanses the throat and releases the phlegm. Studies have found that salt water gargling can help in preventing upper respiratory tract infections.
- Honey: Mix honey with hot water or lemon juice and drink it to alleviate the symptoms of sore throat. Studies have shown that honey has some antibacterial properties that may ease sore throat due to infection. Still, it is necessary to consult a physician in case of bacterial infection. Honey has claimed to relieve cough, which can aggravate a sore throat. Avoid giving honey to toddlers below one year because it can introduce Clostridium botulinum spores, causing botulism.
- Lemon: Drinking lemon water helps to break the mucus and provides pain relief. Vitamin C is present abundantly in lemon and helps to boost immunity and fight off infection. Mix one teaspoon of lemon juice into a glass of warm water and drink for quick relief.
- Humidifier: Dry air, especially during winters, may cause sore throat. Hence, it is best to invest in a humidifier as it moistens the air and opens your sinuses.
- OTC pain medication: Take over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen, to reduce pain and fever. Avoid giving children aspirin because it may cause rare and serious side effects.
- Tea: The different kinds of herbal teas that may provide instant relief include:
- Clove tea, green tea: Fight against infection and provides relief.
- Chamomile tea: Acts as a lubricant to relieve hoarse voice.
- Peppermint tea: Numbs your throat and relieves pain.
- Raspberry tea: Relieves pain and inflammation.
- Rest: It is essential to get sufficient sleep to recover from a sore throat. Sleep helps the body’s immune system to fight against infections. It is also necessary to give rest to your voice and avoid speaking too much for a few days.
- Hot beverages: Hot chicken soup or tea helps to loosen the sinus mucus, which allows for better drainage and decreased stuffiness. Warm drinks also provide sufficient hydration to the body.
- Cayenne peppers are high in capsaicin, which may help to fight inflammation and provide pain relief. Adding half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper with one cup of water and gargling with this water may be useful. Do not use cayenne pepper gargle if you have open sores in the mouth.
- Turmeric latte: Drinking a concoction of warm milk and a pinch of turmeric added to it relieves sore throat like no other. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action.
- Garlic: The allicin present in garlic has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Studies have shown that eating raw garlic every day can boost immunity against the common cold and flu. You can add it to salsa or mince and it and add some olive oil or honey.
- Throat lozenges or hard candy: Throat lozenges and hard candies help to stimulate saliva production, thus keeping the throat moist and lubricated and relieving soreness from a dry throat.
- Marshmallow root: Marshmallow root can soothe the sore throat by coating the irritated tissues of the throat. You can take marshmallow root in the form of a tea.
- Fenugreek: Adding fenugreek seeds to your diet or taking fenugreek tea can boost your immunity to fight against bacterial infections, causing a sore throat. Pregnant women should avoid taking a high amount of fenugreek seeds.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Staying hydrated is the key to ease congestion, loosen mucus secretions, and keep the throat moist. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks because they cause dehydration.
- Warm compress: Keeping the throat warm may soothe the tender lymph nodes.
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Smith C. 6 At-Home Remedies to Ease Your Sore Throat. November 10, 2020. Penn Medicine. https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2018/february/sore-throat
Wani SA, Kumar P. Fenugreek: A review On Its Nutraceutical Properties And Utilization in Various Food Products. J. Saudi Soc Agric Sci. April 2018; 17(2):97-106. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1658077X15301065
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