That season is coming. If we prepare ahead of time, we should have everything we need on hand with the inevitable happens! You wake up with a sore throat! I know when I feel lousy, the last thing I want to do is run to the store…
Here’s what to keep on hand:
Plenty of juices and liquids to keep hydrated
A humidifies or vaporizer
Throat lozenges and throat sprays
One of the most effective treatments for sore throat is probably already in your medicine cabinet: an over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Advil or Aleve. Use good judgment and always check with your doctor about using these medications.
“These medicines are combination pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, so they’ll make you feel better and they’ll also reduce some of the swelling associated with a sore throat,”. “If you have a fever that’s also contributing to your symptoms, they can help reduce that as well.”
2. Saltwater gargle
Several studies have found that gargling several times a day with warm salt water can reduce swelling in the throat and loosen mucus, helping to flush out irritants or bacteria.
Doctors generally recommend dissolving half a teaspoon of salt in one cup of water. If the salty taste is too unpleasant for you, try adding a small amount of honey to sweeten the mixture slightly. (Just remember to spit the water out after gargling, rather than swallowing!)
3. Lozenges and sprays
Sucking on cough drops stimulates saliva production, which can help keep your throat moist. But many varieties are no more effective than hard candies. For an added benefit, choose brands with a cooling or numbing ingredient, like menthol or eucalyptus.
Over-the-counter sprays like Chloraseptic produce an effect similar to cooling lozenges. They won’t cure your sore throat or help you fight off the underlying cold, but they may help dull the pain temporarily. Chloraseptic’s active ingredient, phenol, is a local antiseptic that also has antibacterial properties. Read the labels and check with your doctor.
4. Cough syrup
Even if you don’t have a cough (yet), over-the-counter cough syrups can help ease soreness. Like drops and sprays, they coat the throat and provide temporary pain relief.
If you will be driving or doing anything that requires your full capabilities, be sure to choose a non-drowsy formula. Always read and follow the label instructions and use good judgment when taking over-the-counter medications.
“Staying hydrated is very important, especially when you’re sick and your throat is irritated or inflamed,” “You should be drinking enough fluid so that your urine is light yellow or clear. This keeps your mucous membranes moist and better able to combat bacteria and irritants like allergens, and makes your body better able to fight back against other cold symptoms.”
What you drink is up to you. Water always works (ice cubes and popsicles are soothing, too!), but you can also change it up with something slightly sugary, like a watered-down fruit juice, or something salty, like chicken broth.
A warm cup of herbal tea can offer immediate, soothing relief for a sore throat. Non-herbal teas—whether they’re made with black, green, or white leaves—contain antioxidants that are thought to strengthen immunity and ward off infection.
For an extra boost, add a teaspoon of honey. It’ll help the “medicine” go down, and it has antibacterial properties that may help you heal faster.
7. Chicken soup
An age-old home remedy for colds, chicken soup can help soothe a sore throat, as well. “The sodium in the broth may actually have anti-inflammatory properties, and it can feel good going down,”
Soup has an added benefit when you’re sick: Eating can be painful and difficult with a swollen or very sore throat, so sipping some liquid nourishment will ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need to fight off your infection.
Although there’s no hard evidence that it works, sap from the marshmallow plant has been used for hundreds of years—usually in tea form—to treat coughs, colds, and sore throats. And while real marshmallow bears little relation to the puffy campfire treats that took its name, both may have sore throat-fighting properties.
According to anecdotal reports, modern-day marshmallows can help ease sore throat pain, possibly because the gelatin coats and soothes.
If your throat is really swollen and it really hurts to swallow anything, something slippery and sweet like marshmallows might provide some relief.
It may not be the quickest solution, but getting some rest is probably the best thing you can do to battle the infection.
“The vast majority of sore throats are caused by cold viruses, and we know that there’s very little we can do to cure a cold once we’ve got it,” “Making sure your body is well rested will at least help it fight off the virus so you can get better sooner.”
And if these haven’t helped…you may need to see your doctor…
Every once and a while—about 10 percent of the time in adults—a sore throat will be caused by a bacterial infection such as Streptococcus pyogenes. If you have tried all kinds of home remedies and are not improving, it may be time to see your doctor. If you do test positive for strep throat or another bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. (If you take antibiotics for a sore throat caused by a virus they will not be effective.)
Much of this article originally appeared on Health.com. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20640098,00.html
Please note that I am not a doctor or a healthcare professional. These are suggestions you may want to try. Always use your own good judgment when it comes to matters of your health.