Sore throats are extremely common and typically caused by a viral infection. Most harmless sore throats tend to get better by themselves. However, the more serious kinds could affect your tonsils causing pus in them. If you simply have a sore throat without an accompanying fever or earache, then the following home remedies can help you nip the problem in the bud.
Top 10 home remedies for sore throat
1. Steam inhalation
Often a sore throat is accompanied by a congested nose. In such cases, it is best to opt for steam inhalation. Boil some water in a steamer and add a few teaspoons of salt to it. Steam inhalation is one of the most popular home remedies for sore throat because it immediately decongests the nose. Once you are able to breathe easily the pressure on the walls of your throat reduces; giving you much needed pain relief. You could even try taking a hot shower for the same benefits.
Gargling with warm salt water is another popular home remedy for a sore throat which is also very effective. Simply gargle for a few minutes using a cup of warm salty water every few hours. Some alternatives of this home remedy include:
- Add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to the warm water. ACV is slightly acidic and can reduce phlegm and mucous from the throat.
- Add a pinch of black pepper powder to the warm water. This will clear away the mucous that is causing the sore throat.
- You could even try drinking the hot water with some salt added to it.
- You can gargle using a combination of Listerine mouthwash and hydrogen peroxide. Both these are antimicrobial and help eliminate bacteria from the throat.
3. Soothe the throat with hot liquids
Drinking warm or hot liquids like herbal teas, green teas or plain hot water can also help soothe red, irritated throat. Add a few drops of lemon juice to any herbal tea and some honey for sweetness. Honey especially has antibacterial properties which help eliminate bacteria causing the sore throat. You can even add a few drops of juice of grated ginger to any hot tea of your choice. Ginger is antimicrobial and helps eliminate all kinds of bacteria from the body. It is also anti-inflammatory and can soothe away pain and numbness. Ginger and honey together form one of the best home remedies for sore throat. Hot ginger soup is also a popular home remedy for this affliction.
4. Quit smoking
Most chain smokers tend to suffer from chronic sore throats and related respiratory issues. By quitting smoking you can eliminate these problems. The nicotine and tar in the cigarettes tend to irritate the throat. Once you quit the habit, you can easily clear your throat as well as your lungs.
5. Drink tons of fluids
If you are not drinking enough water, chances are that that is the main reason behind your sore throat. So make sure you get in at least 8-10 glasses of water. If you do not like plain water, drink flavored but sugar-free water. As stated before, you can also sip on lemon tea, green tea etc to get more fluids. Also drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Avoid adding sugar to such homemade juices. Fresh orange and sweet lime juice, apple juice, unsweetened cranberry juice etc are especially beneficial. A glass of lemon juice with little sugar can help strengthen the body’s defense system.
6. Take an OTC pain-killer/fever reducer
If your sore throat is accompanied by fever, body ache, ear ache etc, then do take analgesic pain killer/fever-reducer like Tylenol or Ibuprofen. This will eliminate aches and pains. You can take one painkiller every 4 hours but do not take more than 6 tablets in a day. If the sore throat is very severe, it is best to see the doctor. Try to sleep as getting plenty of rest is beneficial in helping the body heal.
7. Take an antihistamine
Many people suffer from seasonal allergies which cause sore or itchy throat. In such cases, it is best to take an antihistamine like Benadryl or Claritin. Avoid things that may be causing the allergy. If you are allergic to seasonal pollen, get a prescription for an anti-histamine from your doctor.
8. Suck on a lozenge
Lozenges help soothe irritation and pain. You can readily buy lozenges over the counter.
9. Chew on basil leaves
You could try chewing on some basil leaves as these contain medicinal properties that soothe sore throat and coughs.
10. Eat soothing foods
Eat plenty of red grapes. Grapes help provide your body with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that can reduce chronic sore throat and coughs. Just make sure you wash the grapes properly. Also eat marshmallows because the gelatin in them can soothe the sore throat.
What to expect?
A sore throat generally gets better within 3-7 days and does not last, on an average, for more than a week. If, however, your symptoms persist beyond 7-8 days, it is best to see a doctor. You normally won’t need antibiotics for a sore throat, unless it is accompanied by pus in throat, high fever, headache or ear ache.