Tips for Treating Sore Throats
Inflammation of the pharynx (area between mouth and voice box) is what causes a painful throat. Sore throats can be caused by many different conditions. They range from infection (viral and bacterial) to allergic (sinus drainage). Sore throat pain can be constant, or experienced only when swallowing. Sore throats commonly occur during winter months, and they affect children more often than adults. Most cases of throat pain heal quickly and without complication.
Start by resting your voice to relieve throat pain. Excessive talking causes more irritation. Smoke aggravates sore throat symptoms. Stop smoking or avoid smoke-filled environments while throat is hurting. Use a humidifier to increase air moisture. This will keep membranes moist and soothe your painful throat. Breathing through your nose rather than the mouth naturally humidifies inhaled air.
Drinking warm liquids (of your choice) helps rehydrate mucus membranes. Honey is used as a sore throat remedy because of its antibiotic properties. Mix honey and lemon in a glass of hot water, and then drink. Honey soothes the throat, while lemon lessens mucus. This mixture will relieve throat pain temporarily. Gargle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water to rehydrate throat tissue and relieve pain. Salt is a mild antiseptic that helps dissolve phlegm. Eating garlic is good as it contains natural antibacterial and antiviral properties. Over the counter medications like ibuprofen, or aspirin help reduce throat pain. Throat lozenges and hard candies provide relief by stimulating saliva production which helps reduce irritation.
Herbs that may help alleviate sore throat symptoms are normally consumed as teas. Mucilage is a type of slippery elm bark that aids soreness and coats the throat. Steep 1 teaspoon of the inner bark in 2 cups of boiling water, then strain the tea before drinking. Marshmallow root also contains mucilage and has the same coating benefits as elm bark. It can be prepared by steeping 2 teaspoons of the dried herb in 1 cup of boiling water. Strain tea and drink to relieve throat pain. Horehound thins mucus and has anti-inflammatory properties. This tea uses 2 teaspoons of the chopped herb in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes, strain then drink.
Consult a physician before using herbal remedies to treat throat pain. Herbs sometimes interact with prescription medication you already may be taking.