It’s uncomfortable and sometimes painful, and it’s usually a sign that you’re sick, or starting to get sick. At the very least, it’s just plain inconvenient – it’s a sore throat. Coming down with a sore throat in and of itself isn’t a big deal. It’s common to a variety of mild infections or seasonal illnesses. However, it can also be a sign of a more serious or long-lasting illness.
A sore throat usually consists of mild, dull pain, and sometimes an itching feeling in the throat. If your illness is more taxing or severe, a sore throat can cause harsher symptoms: pain or difficulty when swallowing, a hoarse voice, and even swollen tonsils, per mayoclinic.com.
Despite its commonality to different illnesses and its frequent occurrence, there are ways to go about lessening the pain and discomfort of a sore throat. Some of these are over-the-counter meds, while some are home remedies, and some are just plain common sense.
Don’t Get Sick
If you’ve got a sore throat, it usually means you’re sick. The occurring illness could be anything from a seasonal “bug” that lasts a day and a half, to the flu or something worse. Fortunately, you’ll likely know if it’s something worse based on the other symptoms you’ll experience. Take precautions to avoid getting sick, and do so year-round. This means washing your hands (especially when you’re not at home), avoiding close contact with family and friends who are sick, and disinfecting personal appliances (e.g., phone, TV remote, etc.) when traveling.
Gargle Warm Salt Water
This is one of the best home remedies for a sore throat. Doing so might mildly soothe your sore throat or even relieve it entirely for a short time if your symptoms are mild enough. Per webmd.com, gargling warm salt water can actually help “wash the virus out” of the tissue around your throat, because salt helps to attract nearby fluids.
Suck on a Throat Lozenge
Lozenges are an easy and painless way to help lessen the intensity of a sore throat. Throat lozenges are sold over-the-counter at pharmacies and many grocery stores, and they’re very portable. Sucking on a lozenge is like sucking on hard candy, only without the sugar and for the right reasons. Plus, you can consume them in greater numbers as needed, as opposed to over-the-counter meds.
Take a Tylenol or Aspirin
These pain relievers are relatively cheap and can be found at any pharmacy and most groceries. They can provide relief for anywhere from a few hours to an entire day. As recommended by familydoctor.com, you should avoid giving Aspirin to children under 18 as it is linked to the development of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but serious disease.
Eat a Popsicle
A cold treat like a popsicle or a serving of ice cream can help ease a sore throat. It’s cold, which can temporarily numb the painful or itchy feeling in your throat, and it goes down easily. Just don’t do this too frequently.
Drink Plenty of Water
This will keep your throat from getting dehydrated. There’s no easier way to make a sore throat worse than to not drink enough water. Herbal tea is good, too.