Sore throat or pharyngitis can occur for a number of reasons, but the main ones include viral infections, bacterial infections and irritation. If the sore throat is caused by a virus, irritation, too much smoking, sudden change of climate and similar, it usually lasts a couple of days and does not require a trip to the doctor’s. It can be efficiently solved using over-the-counter medication and home remedies. Bacterial infections of the throat should, however, be evaluated by a doctor.
Over-the-counter solutions for sore throat
There are many products that can be purchased with no prescription for soothing the sore throat. Throat or cough lozenges usually contain menthol, honey and other ingredients, sometimes a mild local anesthetic too. They should be slowly dissolved in the mouth, otherwise they will not work.
Analgesics can also be taken, especially if the pain is very intense. Aspirin is the most commonly used analgesic for this purpose.
There are also throat sprays that temporarily numb the mouth and the throat. However, these sprays are not recommended for everyone and children, people with allergies and breathing problems, as well as pregnant women, should not use them.
Home remedies for soothing the sore throat
Many people prefer home remedies to over-the-counter solutions because they are safer and cheaper. There are many ways one can efficiently soothe a sore throat using simple ingredients found in almost every home.
Saline solution gargles are particularly beneficial for sore throat. They can be made from one teaspoon of sea salt and one glass of warm water. It is recommended to use saline solutions for gargling several times a day, especially before bedtime. Gargling apple cider vinegar diluted in water is also very good. Another option for gargling is a teaspoon of cayenne pepper mixed with one glass of water.
Hot tea is one of the traditional home remedies for soothing sore throat. Herbal teas are particularly recommended, such as mint, chamomile and sage. Sage even has some antiseptic properties and it can be used for gargling.
Hot milk, possibly with some honey, is also recommended. Some people add turmeric to hot milk and even though it does not smell or taste very good, it makes a great remedy for soothing sore throat.
A person who suffers from sore throat should avoid things that can irritate it. This includes cigarette smoke, including second-hand smoke, pollution, dry indoor air, spicy foods, acidic foods like bread, gravy and wine. The throat should be kept warm, for example by wearing a scarf or a muffler around the neck.