A sore throat is one of those ailments that might not cause enough discomfort to put you in bed, but is unpleasant enough to disrupt your daily routine. And given the global pandemic, sore throats are all too common a malady these days. At SABEResPODER we’ve put together this handy home remedy guide on what causes a sore throat and how to treat it.
Causes of Sore Throat
Sore throats can be caused by a variety of things, most of which tend to be related to airborne viruses or bacteria. Some possible causes of a sore throat are:
- The common cold
- The flu
- Tonsillitis, which is a viral or bacterial infection that causes inflammation in the tonsils
- Irritation from smoking or drinking alcohol
- More serious ailments, such as strep throat, infectious mononucleosis, mumps, or COVID-19
How to Prevent a Sore Throat
When it comes to sore throats, prevention is key. Proper hygiene is an excellent way to avoid getting a sore throat. Here are some ways you can practice good habits:
- Avoid sharing glasses, thermoses, or bottles with other people. It’s important to teach children these habits to prevent viruses from spreading.
- Drink plenty of water to keep your throat hydrated
- Avoid sudden temperature changes. Layering clothes helps when moving from a very warm environment to a cold one, or vice versa.
- Try not to smoke and avoid environments where people smoke
- Avoid dusty areas; consider wearing a mask if you work in construction or in a place where dust inhalation is unavoidable
- Wash your hands after touching surfaces like handrails or railings
- Take vitamins, which boost your immune system and decrease risk of infection. The most recommended vitamins are C, D, and A.
12 Home Remedies for Sore Throats
We know how uncomfortable a sore throat can be, so we put together a list of cost-effective solutions that can get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Home remedies are particularly effective because they tend to come from nature and have been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Here are 12 natural treatments to help relieve your pain:
Honey is one of the best home remedies to relieve a burning, itchy, and sore throat. Honey’s natural antimicrobial properties fight inflammation while soothing the dry sensation you may experience from the pain.
Gargling with salt water
Gargling warm salt water is an inexpensive and effective way to fight inflammation caused by an infection. This helps your body flush out what’s causing the irritation and provides immediate relief.
Teas are some of the most effective treatments to deal with a painful sore throat. Peppermint tea in particular helps eliminate mucus and irritation and provides a sense of relief and freshness.
Baking soda with lemon
Mixing these products together with a little water is an effective antibacterial treatment. Together, lemon and baking soda help fight sore throat irritation quickly and effectively.
Grapefruit juice is a useful remedy for a sore throat. This fruit, like all citrus, has many anti-inflammatory properties. Some experts point out that it should be ingested slowly and at a very cold temperature to boost its impact on the affected area.
Ginger root can be used to treat many ailments and illnesses. Ginger tea is extremely effective at soothing a sore throat; its anti-inflammatory properties foster the expulsion of infectious agents and soothe the itching and discomfort.
Chamomile tea with lemon
Chamomile is another plant with powerful medicinal properties. A cup of chamomile tea with some fresh lemon can help reduce inflammation in the throat, while the hot temperature soothes the burning.
Licorice is one of the most effective antibacterials that can be found in nature. Its properties help improve respiratory function and alleviate pain from tonsillitis.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has powerful antibacterial properties and provides fast relief of an itchy, sore throat. To clear the throat, this remedy can be ingested either as an infusion or by gargling.
Throat lozenges will increase your saliva production and help soothe the area while decreasing throat irritation. Hard lozenges come in many flavors like mint, honey, or lemon, and they also provide a sensation of freshness.
Inhaling steam helps open up your respiratory tract, causing any mucus in the throat to be released. This remedy is very easy to prepare. Just boil a pot of water on the stove and when it’s ready, drape a towel over your head, then slowly and carefully breathe in the steam. For an extra boost, add eucalyptus, rosemary, or lavender to the pot.
Sage is one of the best natural remedies to fight irritation caused by a sore throat. It can be used to treat immediate discomfort and provide long-term protection against future infections.Keep in mind: These remedies and suggestions can be used to ease a sore, irritated throat. However, if you continue to feel pain or discomfort after using them, go to the doctor.
Remedies for Sore Throats in Children
Remedies for Sore Throats in Children
Children are often more affected by sore throats, so we put together a separate list of home remedies just for the little ones. We know taking care of sick kids can be tough, especially when it comes to convincing them to try home remedies. Here are some tips for treating your child’s sore throat at home:
- Cold juices help soothe throat pain and irritation while keeping your child hydrated. The juice can be whichever your child likes the most.
- Ice cream helps soothe tonsil inflammation
- Gargling baking soda and warm water will kill any germs in their throat and mouth
- Menthol steam opens up the respiratory tract and eliminates mucus that might be affecting their throat
- Using a scarf helps to prevent exposure to cold temperatures
When Should I See a Doctor?
Although the remedies above can be very effective, sometimes it’s necessary to seek professional help. Don’t shy away from going to the doctor, as healthcare experts are trained to help you feel better faster. If you are experiencing the following symptoms, go to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor:
- Pain that doesn't subside after applying home remedies
- High fever or seizures
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing liquids or food
- Visible changes in your throat or neck area
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s better for a sore throat, acetaminophen or ibuprofen?
Paracetamol helps reduce pain and fever, while ibuprofen helps relieve pain and inflammation in the areas impacted by an infection. Both are highly effective, but to find out which one is the most effective for you, we recommend consulting your doctor.
Does COVID-19 cause a sore throat?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, can cause a sore throat. This symptom isn’t usually as intense as the pain associated with tonsillitis, but it can certainly be a nuisance for several days.
Keep in mind: If you have a sore throat and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, go get tested to make sure you aren’t infected. That way, you’ll also help stop the spread of the virus.
What does it feel like when my throat is swollen?
If your throat is swollen or inflamed, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Hoarse voice
- Itchiness at the back of the throat
- Difficulty speaking
Soothe Your Sore Throat!
Don’t let a sore throat slow you down! There are plenty of remedies and methods at your disposal to both prevent and relieve a sore throat. What’s more, there’s no need to spend a lot of money to do so. There are many cost effective and natural remedies that you can try from the comfort of your own home.
Sometimes, however, you’ll have to see a doctor for relief. We recommend PODERsalud, the SABEResPODER health membership program that gives you access to unlimited virtual medical consultations and incredible discounts on medications, lab tests, and more.