Sore throats are incredibly common. In fact, most of us will deal with at least one, if not more, during our lifetime. From scream-singing your way through a concert to catching a viral infection, there are many reasons why you may be dealing with a sore throat. While the problem is typically nothing serious, our ENT doctors know that you also want relief from that raw, scratchy throat. Here are some simple at-home methods for easing your sore throat.
Rinse and gargle with saltwater: Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of sea or table salt to an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Gargle with this concoction for several seconds, multiple times a day (just don’t swallow it!). The salt can quickly reduce inflammation and swelling. You may also choose to replace salt with baking soda. Baking soda can kill bacteria, so it could be good if your sore throat is due to a bacterial infection such as strep.
Add honey to your tea: You may already be consuming cup-after-cup of tea, hoping that it alleviates your sore throat. While there are certain teas on the market that are designed to numb and soothe a sore, scratchy throat, you may also want to start adding manuka honey into your tea. Honey is full of antimicrobials, to help fight infection, and can also provide natural healing properties and suppress your cough. Have a cup of tea with honey before heading to bed and see if that helps soothe your throat so you can get some shuteye.
Invest in a humidifier: If you find that your sore throat occurs when the air around you is dry, or if dry air makes your current symptoms worse, it’s a good idea to add a humidifier to your home. You may also want to take a hot, steamy shower every day to help add moisture to the mucus membranes of the nose and throat. This can help to loosen and clear out some of that mucus.
A sore throat can be caused by a variety of things. It’s important to know the cause before you start trying your hand at at-home remedies, since some may be useful for certain causes but not for others. If you aren’t sure what’s causing your sore throat, you should see an ENT doctor for an evaluation.
Common causes of acute sore throats include,
- Viral infections such as a cold, flu, or mono (causes about 90 percent of sore throats)
- Strep infection and other bacterial infections
- Dry air
- Smoke and other irritants
- Strain, overuse, or injury
However, if you are dealing with chronic or recurring sore throats this could be a sign of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Other causes of a persistent sore throat include,
- Mouth breathing
- Postnasal drip
- Environmental irritant and pollutants
You must turn to a qualified ENT specialist if your sore throat doesn’t go away, is severe, or makes it difficult to swallow. While some sore throats will go away on their own, sometimes you’ll need antibiotics or other medications to get rid of the infection.