Although they are really common, throat pain can be very uncomfortable and unbearable. Accompanied symptoms also include swelling, tenderness, scratchiness and pain with swallowing. In some cases, just the simple task of trying to swallow may cause you to have to prepare yourself for the pain. Fortunately, throat pain usually goes away by themselves in days to a few weeks, while there are some home remedies that can help to ease the pain or even speed up the healing process.
1. Stay Hydrated
- Water. Water is necessary and very helpful. Drink enough water to make your urine appear clear to pale yellow, which will help to keep your mouth and throat moist as well as help your mouth and throat get rid of irritants, allergens and bacteria. Increased fluids can also help relieve other respiratory symptoms.
- Hot Tea. Warm herbal teas can help to soothe a throat pain. Take regular green, white or black tea, which will benefit you from added antioxidants to help fight off the infection. To add extra soothing action or antibacterial action, add a teaspoon of honey to your cup.
- Juice. Take 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and take it straight. Or, you can mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of honey in warm water and sip slowly. Lime juice can also help a throat pain. Use 1 tablespoon of lime juice with 1 tablespoon of honey.
- Chicken Soup. Chicken soup has been used as a natural cold remedy for many years and can also be helpful for throat pains. The protein and vitamins help to nourish and strengthen the body, while the salt has some anti-inflammatory properties to help relieve swelling and inflammation.
- Warm Saltwater. Saltwater may be the most common, easy and frequently used to help relieve pain as well as reduce inflammation and secretions in the throat. Just add ½ teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water, mix them well and gargle with it in 3 or 4 hour intervals.
- Sage. Sage is a known herb that has curing properties and can be helpful for throat pains. Brew one teaspoon of sage leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes and strain. Mix in one teaspoon of honey and one teaspoon of cider vinegar. Use up to four times daily as a gargle.
- Turmeric. A gargle made with turmeric can help to calm and soothe throat pain. Use ½ teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon salt and one cup boiling water. You can use this as a gargle two times daily. You can also mix one cup of hot milk with ½ teaspoon of turmeric and drink.
- Raspberry Leaf Tea. You can use this as a gargle or drink as a tea for throat pain and fever. Take two teaspoons of dry raspberry leaves and brew with one cup of water. Allow the tea to brew for at least 10 minutes and then strain. Use as a gargle and spit out.
- Humidifier. It is helpful to place a humidifier or vaporizer in your room to moisten the air. Using a cool or warm mist of air can relieve your throat by moistening and soothing air passages that are inflamed. Moist air can help to calm a hoarse voice. It is important to be careful not to over-humidify the air and make your surroundings too damp. If you do not own a humidifier, you can use a pan of boiled water placed in a safe corner to avoid injury or burns.
- Steam. Steam tents have been used for many years to help moisten air passages. Boil water and place in a bowl. Cover the head with a towel while holding the head over the steaming bowl. For added relief, you can drop in 1 or 2 drops of eucalyptus oil to the water after boiling. This method can help to shorten the amount of time you are sick with a throat pain.
4. Try Alternative Options
- Horseradish. This Russian sore-throat remedy can be mixed with water and honey to make a tea. Use 1 tablespoon of pure horseradish or the root of the plant and mix in water with 1 teaspoon of ground cloves and 1 teaspoon of honey. Sip this mixture slowly for relief.
- Juicy Bar. You can use a frozen juice bar to sooth a throat that is warm and painful. Be careful not to suck on the juice bar as this can make the pain worse. Just bite off a small piece and let is melt in the mouth.
- Hard Candy. Doctors will tell you that the sugar in hard candies can help soothe throat pain and help relieve the tickling cough that goes along with it. Even if you need to use the sugar-free candy, it will help promote moisture in the throat and the mouth to increase your comfort.
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5. Take OTC Medications
If home remedies are ineffective, as a last resort you can always try an over-the-counter medication for relief. Your physician may even decide to prescribe something to shorten the course of the infection. Here are some options to choose from:
- Anti-inflammatories or Antibiotics. Aleve (Naproxen), Advil/Motrin (Ibuprofen) or any generic NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) is helpful in reducing the inflammation and swelling in the throat. These also help with pain and fever. In cases of bacterial infection, your physician may have to prescribe an antibiotic.
- Throat Lozenges. Throat lozenges have an ingredient that can numb a throat pain. You can also try cough drops to help ease pain and scratchiness.
- Decongestant. These medications can help to reduce the swelling in the airways and dry up secretions that can irritate the throat. Decongestants come in a spray for the nose or pill form. They can have side-effects and the pills are more effective, but have a higher risk of adverse effects. They may not be used in children.
It is important to use over-the-counter medications very cautiously. They can have side-effects and interact with other medications. Keep these tips in mind for safe use.
- Read the labels and only use according to the specific directions. Do not use more or take if you have a listed health condition without consulting your physician first.
- Some over-the-counter medications can harm an unborn baby. Only use what your physician recommends during this time.
- Make sure you are not allergic to any of the ingredients. For example some people who are allergic to aspirin may take a product that contains salicylic acid and have a reaction.
- Children and teenagers under the age of 20 should not use aspirin if they have a viral infection, it can cause a condition called Reye’s syndrome.
- If your throat pain does not clear up within a few weeks and you experience a worsening of symptoms like inability to take in fluids, rash, high fever and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention right away.