It's scratchy, tender and swollen, and you dread the simple task of swallowing. But you have to swallow, and if you do, then brace yourself for the inevitable pain.
If you have a sore throat, you're in good company, all of them, and 40 million people annually trek to a doctor's office treatments.
The mechanics of a sore throat are pretty simple. It's an inflammation of the pharynx, which is the tube that extends from the back of the mouth to the esophagus. The leading causes of your discomfort are:
Viral infections like colds or the flu. Often accompanied by fever, achy muscles and runny nose, viral infections can't be cured, but their symptoms can be treated. A sore throat from a viral source will generally disappear on its own within several days.
Bacterial infection, especially from streptococcal bacteria (strep throat). Symptoms are much like those of a viral infection but may be more severe and long lasting. Often a bacterial infection is accompanied by headache, stomachache and swollen glands in the neck. A strep infection is generally treated with antibiotics because permanent heart or kidney damage can result. Culturing the bacteria is the only way a doctor can determine the cause of the sore throat.
While those are the primary reasons for a sore throat, there are others, including:
· Acid reflux
· Dry air, especially at night when you may sleep with your mouth open
· Mouth breathing
· Throat abuse: singing, shouting, coughing
· Polyps or cancer
· Infected tonsils
· Food allergy
A sore throat can be a minor but annoying ailment, or it can be a symptom of a serious illness. Causes range from a stuffy nose or a cold to strep throat, a bacterial throat infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes. Since untreated strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever and scarlet fever, it's important to get medical help as early as possible into the illness. Along with producing severe soreness in your gullet, strep throat may be accompanied by fever, body aches and pains and malaise.
If you have these symptoms, or if you have a sore throat lasting more than two or three days, it makes good sense to see a doctor. For mild sore throats that accompany a cold or allergy, there are soothing remedies using common household items that can stand alone or work side by side with traditional medicine to stifle that soreness. Get started with the first home remedy.
Keep clear nasal passages
Doctors agree that two of the most common causes of sore throat and runny nose are dry throat is sleeping with his mouth open when nasal passages are blocked.
Decongestants, especially those containing pseudoephedrine (read package labels) may be useful to stop the flow, follow the package directions. Use saline nasal spray can help make breathing easier promptly though temporarily, and probably worth investing in a humidifier to run in your bedroom at night.
Relax and Take It Easy
Common sense dictates staying in bed or at least rest when the sore throat has come down. Taking it easy leaves more energy to fight the infection. If sore throat does not require medical attention, rest will help you back on the road to recovery.
Gargle raspberry tea. Raspberry leaf tea can make a gargle. (So, pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried leaves. Let stand for 10 minutes, then strain. Allow to cool.) If you also have fever, the gargle may be used as a drink to reduce fever, too. Do not drink any liquid that has been used as a gargle.
Gargle with sage. This healing herb is a major sore throat gargle. Mix one teaspoon in cup boiling water 1. Let stand 10 minutes, then strain. Add a teaspoon of cider vinegar and honey, and then gargle four times a day.
Gargle with turmeric. Try this gargle to soothe a cranky throat. Mix 1 cup hot water 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gargle with the mixture twice daily. If not right with the gargle, mix 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric in hot milk cup and a drink. Turmeric stains clothing, so be careful to mix and gargle.
Gargle with warm salt water. If you can gargle without gagging, make a saline solution by adding 1/2 teaspoon salt in a cup of hot water. Yes, when your mother tells you to gargle with salt water, she knew what she was talking about. Cut the mucus and reduces inflammation. Dissolve salt 1/2 teaspoon in 1/2 cup warm water and gargle every three to four hours.
Gargle with Listerine. Another good gargling fluid is Listerine mouthwash. If you share the product with any other person in the household, do not drink straight from the bottle, however, pour a small amount in a cup (and not share it, either).
Drink apple cider vinegar
This sore throat cure is found in many different remedies. Some doctors still swear it's surprisingly palatable and works great. (Do not give him - or any other honey containing foods or drinks - to children under two years honey can carry bacteria that can cause a kind of food poisoning known as infant botulism, could also cause allergic reactions in very. young children.)
In one tablespoon of honey, all types
1 tablespoon vinegar, preferably apple cider vinegar
8 ounces of hot water
Mix all ingredients together in a cup and drink slowly (but do not let it get cold). Use as often as desired.
For gargling: You'll need 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup cider vinegar and 1 cup warm water. Dissolve salt in vinegar, then mix in water. Gargle every 15 minutes if necessary.
Sip lemon juice. Mix 1 tablespoon each of honey and lemon juice in 1 cup warm water and drink immediately.
Drink lime juice. Mix a spoonful with a spoonful of honey and take as often as needed for sore throat.
Eat a juice bar
Juice bar is cool and soothing to hot throat. Do not suck, though. Ball can irritate the throat even more. Leave only the small pieces melt in your mouth.
Take some Hard Candy
Think of a sore throat as an excuse to indulge your sweet tooth, because some doctors say sugar can help soothe a sore throat and cough ticklish can come here. If nothing else, sucking hard candy - sugar free variety - can help keep your mouth and throat moist, which will make you feel more comfortable.
An old remedy for a cold or sore is a steam tent, sitting on your face over a bowl of steaming hot water and your head covered with a towel to keep the steam in. Adding 1 2 drops of type vegetable oil can be soothing.
While it is easy to dismiss something as simple as an old wives tale, several scientific studies showing that the steam can actually shorten the duration of an infection in the throat.
Plain old aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen can do wonders for sore throat pain. However, aspirin should not be given to children under 19 because of the risk of Reye syndrome, a potentially fatal disease. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should consult their doctor before taking any medication.