If your throat feels are though it’s made of sand paper it feels swollen and the mere thought of swallowing is painful, you have a sore throat with all the attendant symptoms. Sore throats are so common, in a year more people visit the doctor’s offices for that than any other problem. Most sore throats are associated with the cold virus and disappear within a week along with the other symptoms. But a bacterial sore throat is a serious condition that could that could portend something more sinister. If you find your sore throat lingering, beyond three days in spite of the usual measures, it is a good idea to schedule a consultation with your doctor. The doctor may ask for a throat swab and culture which will reveal the cause of the sore throat.
What Are The Causes Of A Sore Throat?
Apart from cold and fever, there are some other causes for a sore throat. These include:
- Infected tonsils
- Acid Reflux
- Throat abuse: singing, shouting or prolonged coughing
- Mouth breathing
Most mild sore throats that are connected to colds and fevers, respond favorably to home remedies. These home remedies can be followed even if you are on prescription medication.
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They can be used as an adjunct therapy. If the sore throat is accompanied by high fever as may be in the case of infected tonsils, a visit to the doctor’s clinic will be unavoidable. Strep throats or a sore throat that is caused by a bacterial infection will be accompanied by high temperatures. Do not neglect this condition.
De congest Your Nose
When you have a cold and your nose is blocked, it is natural that you sleep with the mouth open. A condition called the post nasal drip too irritates the throat, making it feel raw. In such conditions, use a decongestant. Choose one that contains pseudo ephedrine. A decongestant opens out the nasal passages making breathing easy. Another option is to keep the bedroom humid using a humidifier. Dryness worsens a bad throat. Saline nasal sprays are also good to use though they are effective only for short spells of time. Decongestants should be used only as a last resort as indiscriminate use will cause chronic dryness making the nose a permanent breeding ground for germs. This will travel down to the pharynx and cause inflammation.
Gargling Is Effective!
Most people dismiss gargling as unscientific advice that grandmothers pass on, but now there is proof that a salt water gargle is indeed effective in shortening the life span of a bad throat. Gargling can be done with more than just salt water. Try the very effective raspberry leaf gargle. In a cup of boiling water a teaspoonful of dried raspberry leaves, Let it infuse for at least 10 minutes. Strain and use it to gargle. Drinking this raspberry leaf will bring down a fever. Sweeten with a spoonful of honey if you wish to drink it. Sage leaves too can be infused in boiling water and drunk as tea. Boost it with some cider vinegar and honey. Make sure you get adequate rest when you have a sore throat. You body needs to conserve energy to fight the infection.
Turmeric, The Natural Antibiotic
Turmeric, the bright yellow spice, is an indispensable ingredient in South Asian cuisine. It is also a natural antibiotic. Get the goodness of turmeric in a gargle. Bring a cup of water to the boil, add ½ teaspoon of turmeric and an equal quantity of salt. Take off heat and let sit for about 10 minutes. Strain and gargle with it. If gargling gags you, try the milk and turmeric infusion that you can drink. Add ½ teaspoon of turmeric to really hot milk and infuse for 10 minutes. Cool slightly, add a spoonful honey, stir and sip slowly. Nothing can beat the conventional salt gargle. It is easy and it’s effective. Gargling with hot saline water helps to loosen phlegm and reduce swelling in the throat.
The vitamin C that citrus fruits contain can contain inflammation. Lemon juice, honey and hot water will help a raw throat settle down. Dilute it with water to make a pleasant, comforting drink. Also beneficial are regular tea and herbal teas like chamomile, holy basil and mint. Tea is good as it keeps you well hydrated when you have a cold and fever. Marjoram and celery seeds are also good for a cranky throat. Some people find that having an ice lolly made using fruit juices helps. There are others who cannot abide the thought of ice during a cold.
Steam inhalation is an effective way to open clogged sinuses and ease a sore throat. Boil up a pan of water and add couple of drops of Eucalyptus Oil to it. Place it on a firm surface and sit in front with your face over the pan. Tent a thick towel over your head so that it traps the steam. Inhale deeply using one nostril at a time. The eucalyptus infused steam will open pathways so that clogged mucus flows out. To keep your mouth moist, you can keep a candy and suck on it occasionally.
Drink Enough Water
You probably can’t eat much with that sore throat, but make sure you get enough fluids down. Have a variety of liquids. Fruit juices are a great option as they pump you with vitamin C which is a cold fighter. But colas and aerated drinks are a no-no. Chicken soup is the best comfort food when you are down. It provides sustenance and fluids in one go. Make super foods part of your regular diet as they build up resistance to colds and flu. Look for vitamin C rich foods if you are prone to colds. Practice yoga as the deep breathing techniques allows the lungs to expand and stay healthy. Get plenty of exercise. Learn to love fresh air and make use of the opportunities to go out into the open if you work in a closed office all day long.