Sore throats are very common and usually nothing to worry about. They normally get better by themselves within a few weeks. When you have a sore throat, you experience pain, scratchiness or irritation that often worsens when you swallow. Usually, a sore throat is a symptom of a viral infection. You may or may not also have a runny or blocked nose, sneezing fever and a tickly cough. Occasionally some sore throats are caused by bacteria and this is known as strep throat. With this, you will usually feel sicker and take longer to get better. Your immune system may clear the strep throat or you may need an antibiotic. The main symptom that suggests a sore throat includes:
- A painful or scratchy throat, especially when you swallow
- Difficulty swallowing
- Redness at the back of your mouth
- Bad breath
- A mild cough
- Swollen neck glands
Regardless of the cause of your sore throat, most sore throats can be treated at home with the following lifestyle and home remedies.
Rest. Most sore throats are caused by infection and it will usually go away on its own. Hence, it is helpful if you can get plenty of rest to give your immune system a chance to fight the infection.
Remain Hydrated. Your throat has to be prevented from getting dry to prevent more irritation. Consuming enough fluid to keep you hydrated and keep your throat moist will prevent dehydration.
Avoid Irritants. Many different chemicals and other substances in the environment irritate the throat, including cigarette and tobacco smoke, cleaning products and other chemicals. These should be avoided to prevent further irritation of your throat.
Gargle with salt water solution. This is one of the oldest tricks so far. It is done by dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, gargle, and spit it out. This process can be repeated up to four times a day. Salt acts as a mild antiseptic that draws the water out of the mucous membranes and helps clear the phlegm as well. It also helps in making the immune system more effective.
Use of Medications. You can also get painkillers over the counter like paracetamol and ibuprofen to relieve the pain and if there is any associated fever. Throat lozenges are also available to use
Eat comforting food and beverage. A healthy diet that encompasses all the essential nutrients should be consumed. Vitamin C supplements can be used. This helps curbs body weaknesses and speeds up the recovery process. Avoid hot food and drinks that could irritate your throat. Eat cool, soft food and drink cool or warm (not hot) liquids.