A sore throat is often the earliest symptom of a cold or the flu. You can also get sore throat for a lot of other reasons – from viral or bacterial infections, dry air, smoking exposure to irritants or too much cheering at a game.
You can feel discomfort, as your sore throat takes its course. A persistent, recurrent or severe sore throat, or one accompanied by fever, needs medical treatment. But many sore throats can be soothed by the simple remedies given here and should disappear within a week.
Soothing Sore Throat
Suck on soothing lozenges. While they relieve pain, they don’t do anything to address the real cause of your pain, whether it is an infection or the abuse of your vocal cords.
Sip something hot. Try decaffeinated tea or herbal tea with honey.
Try zinc gluconate tablets. The trick is to dissolve zinc bathe your throat for a while. The lozenges should be used for no more than seven days, because the large amounts of zinc can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb other minerals.
Indulge garlic. When a sore throat is caused by a virus infection, as opposed to bacteria, eating garlic can bring quicker relief. Garlic has been shown to have antiviral and antifungal activities.
Avoid tobacco smoke. To avoid sore throat in the future, don’t smoke and don’t expose yourself or your children to sidestream smoke.
Keep indoor air cool and moist. Keeping the temperature of the house on the cool side will reduce your need to add moisture and will also help keep inflammation down.
Trade in your toothbrush. Lingering sore throats may be traceable to bacteria on a toothbrush. Trade in toothbrush for a new model every two weeks.
When to See the Doctor
At first sign of sore throat, most doctors suspect strep throat, a very painful form of sore throat caused by the streptococcus bacteria. It’s a serious concern, since strep throat, if left untreated, can lead to problems such as rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease.
There are prescription antibiotics that can usually cure the condition quickly. Also have your sore throat checked by a doctor if it’s accompanied by any of the following:
- Trouble breathing , swallowing or opening your mouth
- Joint pains
- Fever above 101°F
- Blood in the phlegm or saliva
- A persistent lump in the throat
- Hoarseness that lasts more than two weeks.