It hurts to swallow, and anything past your tongue feels raw and inflamed — you can’t eat crunchy foods or even talk, really. We’ve all had a sore throat at one point, and for some — especially during allergy season — it’s an annual occurrence.
The easy way to deal with sore throats is to pop anti-inflammatory pills with water. But home remedies can sometimes help just as much or even more — and they’re usually cheap and accessible. Below, you’ll find seven simple ways to fight that terrible sore throat and get back on track.
Warm Salt Water
Gargling warm water mixed with salt can do wonders for your sore throat — it can help reduce inflammation and relieve the pain. Gargle frequently for the most effective results, at least once an hour. All you have to do is drop one tablespoon of salt into a cup of warm (not burning hot!) water, then gargle before spitting it back into the sink. Don’t swallow the salt water, though; that will dehydrate you more which wouldn’t be much help.
Keep yourself hydrated — drink more water than you would normally drink on a day-to-day basis; drink water like it’s your job, until your urine is clear or a very light yellow. Drinking fluids will help flush out the virus, and will take some of the dryness and scratchiness out of your throat by helping boost mucus production. Drinking lots of water will also help clear out a stuffy nose by producing more mucus.
‘Mindful’ Tea With Honey
That being said — drink lots of tea, too. Have a friend make you a hot cup of herbal tea (decaffeinated is best) mixed with a spoonful of balmy honey, which can coat the throat and soothe its swelling. Honey helps anything go down more easily. Add some fresh mint leaves to your tea to give it that extra kick, and in no time you’ll find yourself wanting that tea therapy every few hours.
While you’re sick, take some time to rest and relax a bit. Sit up in bed, propped up by comfy pillows, and sip your tea while being “mindful” of the moment you’re in. Rest your mind, and let your stress slip away. It’s been shown that stress can cause or exacerbate infection as well as lead to a weaker immune system, so the more you reduce your stress, the faster you’ll get better. Tea is good for the mind, body, and soul (sort of like chicken soup).
Chicken Soup And ‘Soft Foods’
Just because it’s hard to swallow doesn’t mean you should starve yourself. Actually, your body really needs food especially when you’re sick, so pay close attention to eating small things every few hours. Warm, soft foods that are easily swallowed will make it easier for you to stay nourished while you have a scratchy throat. Some soft foods that will help nourish your body include rice, bananas, and apple sauce (basically the BRAT diet without toast, which might irritate your throat even more).
The most famous natural remedy is chicken soup — at least in America. Drinking plenty of fluids, especially warm ones, as stated before, will help you get back on your feet. Hot chicken stock will provide protein with virtually no fat, and soft cooked vegetables and noodles will stick to your ribs a bit. Other foods to consider include yogurt, or even ice cream and popsicles, which can help relieve the inflammation in your throat.
Keeping Your Air Humid With A Vaporizer/Humidifier
If you live in New York City in a tiny overheated apartment in the wintertime, you’re familiar with that annoying sore throat that accompanies excessively dry air. You don’t even have to be sick, but you’ll wake up with a painful throat because the air in your room is so dry, due to the heater. Purchase a small humidifier to help keep your room a little more vaporized. Trust me, you’ll notice the difference.
Quit The Smoking
This often goes without saying, but if you’re sick and have a sore throat, keep that pack of cigarettes hidden away at least for a few days. Tobacco, weed, coffee, and alcohol will make you feel worse, and that small buzz lasting for a few minutes or hours isn’t worth the worsening effect later on.
If you’re addicted to tobacco, try your best to stop smoking for at least a few days, or until your throat feels better. Afterwards, start taking steps to kick the habit completely by using nicotine patches or even e-cigarettes as a temporary substitute. And although marijuana is used medicinally for various illnesses, smoking weed will irritate a sore throat rather than improve it.
In between your salt water gargling, hot cups of tea, chicken soup breaks, and naps, suck on some throat lozenges to relieve the pain in your throat temporarily. They are cheap and come in various different flavors, and soon you'll find yourself handling your sore throat quite well.
If you spend a few days resting while staying true to these natural remedies, you may not even need to pop those anti-inflammatory pills. Although medication probably wouldn't hurt, either.