Sore throats can be described as pain, irritation or scratchiness in the throat that tends to feel worse when you swallow. The most common causes of sore throats are viral infections (colds and flu). There are many sore throat remedies out there, but here are the top 4 ways to treat a sore throat naturally.
#1. Drink plenty fluids
The moment you feel that tingling sensation in your throat, start drinking liquids immediately. Consuming liquids helps flush bacteria from the throat and mucous membranes before they can multiply and cause more discomfort. Top liquids for sore throats include the following:
- Lemon water
- Hot tea:
- Ginger tea
- Peppermint tea
- Licorice root tea
Adding two tablespoons of honey to tea can help treat sore throats as well. Honey has the following properties:
- Antioxidant properties
#2. Try humidity and steam
Inhaling steam helps to soothe and moisturize a sore throat. It can also loosen mucus in the throat and reduce any swelling in the area. Take a hot shower and breathe in the steam slowly and deeply. Another option is to run hot water in a sink to create steam, drape a towel over your head and lean over the sink to inhale the steam.
#3. Gargle with salt water
Gargling with saltwater helps soothe a scratchy throat by pulling the mucus out of the tissues in your throat. For best results try the following mixture:
- Combine ½ tablespoon with 8 ounces of warm water
- Stir until dissolved
- Gargle for several seconds then spit it out
- Repeat several times per day until feel better
#4. Drink a hot toddy
Hot toddy’s contain the following ingredients:
- Hot water
- Lemon juice
- Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
Whiskey helps to break up mucus and dilate the blood vessels on the surface of the throat. This stimulates the production of white blood cells, helping to fight infection. Spices such as ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg are optional ingredients. They are anti-inflammatory, helping to boost the immune system and reduce the bacteria that can cause sore throat.
While most sore throats can be treated at home, consult a doctor if you have the following symptoms:
- Trouble swallowing, opening mouth or difficulty breathing
- High fever
- White patches on back of throat
- Lost voice for a week or more
- Lymph nodes in neck are enlarged
In addition to the tips above, working to prevent sore throats is important as well. Here are a few ways to decrease the risk of having sore throats:
- Washing hands with soap and water frequently throughout the day
- Use hand sanitizers if soap and water is unavailable
- Wash hands after touching doorknobs, keyboards, or shaking hands
- Avoid using personal items of others such as toothbrushes or silverware
- Eat healthy foods daily
- Get adequate sleep nightly
Sore throats are common but can be treated with a variety of natural remedies. Doctors should be consulted if sore throats last longer than one or symptoms worsen.
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