What is a sore throat?
A sore throat is a condition in which, you feel annoying throat pain. It is caused by inflammation of the throat, which in scientific terms is called acute pharyngitis. Sore throat is the first warning sign of common cold, strain in the vocal chords or something more serious, like strep throat. Regardless of knowing the actual cause of pain or soreness in throat, we immediately rush to the doctor, but there are various natural home remedies that can easily fix and heal the problem. But, for taking the right cure, it is better to first identify the symptoms. The risk of sore throat is generally higher in smokers, allergic, children, and people with bad immune system.
What are the symptoms of the sore throat?
The signs and indications of sore throat include:
- Dry throat
- Difficulty in swallowing food
- Pain or an abrasive sensation in the throat
- Pain that increases while talking and eating
- Croaky or subdued voice
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Tenderness in the neck
- Bloated and red tonsils
- White patches or pus on the tonsils
There are various other signs that one feel while having a sore throat:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Causes of sore throat
There are certain reasons, which cause an inflammatory or sore throat. They are as under:
- Viral Infections :
Viral illnesses are the most common reason which results in sore throat. The most frequently occurring viral infection is the common cold. The other causes are infection of the laryngitis, influenza, herpangina, and mumps.
- Bacterial Infections :
One of the reasons of sore throat is a bacterial infection, which occurs due to irritating or inflamed tissues, burning epiglottis or infection in the tonsils. In certain cases, STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) like gonorrhoea and chlamydia are also the causes of burning throat.
- Injuries and Irritants :
If your sore throat does not heal up within a week, then it may be a result of certain injuries and irritating factors, like a cut due to falling with something pointed in mouth, gastroesophageal reflux disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, yelling, pollution, dust, smoking, low humidity, and excessive use of antibiotics.
- Other Reasons :
Cigarette smoke and certain medical treatments (such as cancer treatment with radiation or chemotherapy) may also result in sore throat.
How to cure a sore throat?
Various cures are available for sore throat. Medicines can treat only a specific type of throat infection. For instance, antibiotics are useful in bacterial infections but not in case of viral infections. Before undergoing for any medication, one should know the exact cause of infection. However, several home remedies are also available for treating sore throat.
Homemade Remedies for Curing Sore Throat
There are various home remedies that can ease the patient and can relieve him/her from the problem of sore throat, almost immediately.
The superb home remedy to fix the problem of sore throat is gargling with lukewarm water, mixed with salt. You can also mix turmeric powder in the salt solution.
Alternatively, you can also use the solution of baking soda for gargling. For this, mix ½ tsp of baking soda in one glass of warm water.
Honey is used in treating many ailments, and sore throat is one of them. Honey has some natural antibacterial properties that can quickly heal the patient, suffering from sore throat. It acts as a hypertonic osmotic and reduces the discomfort of the patient by drawing out water from the inflamed tissues. You can add 4-5 tsp of honey to a cup of herbal tea or hot water. Juice of half lemon mixed with honey in hot water also soothes the burning throat.
3. Vitamin C
Whatever may be the reason of your sore throat, Vitamin-C works in all conditions. The sufferer should intake sources of Vitamin-C thrice a day, which is helpful in strengthening the immune system to fight-off the infection. Include oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, squash, mangoes, and red peppers in your diet.
Raw garlic also has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities, which can cure the throat infection. If you don’t wish to have raw garlic, take garlic capsules.
Run a humidifier or cool mist vaporizer in the patient’s room. This helps in adding moisture in the air that in turn helps the throat from drying out. If you do not have a humidifier at home, take a large bowl of water and place it in front of the radiator or heating vent.
6. Improvise the Immune System
Strengthen your immune system by adding nutritional supplements, like zinc, magnesium, vitamins C and E, and immunity boosting herbs, like astragalus and goldenseal in your diet.
7. Sugar-free Popsicles or Ice-creams
Though, cold drinks and food are a big NO in sore throat, but sugar-free popsicles and ice-creams are beneficial in the sore throat, caused due to cold. They decrease inflammation and irritation.
8. Ginger Tea
Drink ginger tea for avoiding soothing the sore throat. The procedure of preparing ginger tea is simple. Prepare the tea as you normally would, just add crushed piece of ginger and boil for 4-5 minutes.
9. Chamomile Tea
The patient can also be given the chamomile tea as it helps in alleviating the sore throat by reducing inflammation and throat pain. Take two tea bags of chamomile and steep them in one cup of boiling water. Honey can also be added to it if you want to have it sweet. Sip it slowly.
10. Inhale Fragrances
Essential oils, like thyme, lavender, eucalyptus, sandalwood, etc. can be inhaled to experience some relief.
11. Basil Leaves
Boil basil leaves in water. Then, strain it and intake the water, sip by sip. Else, gargle with the water.
12. Indian Spices
Make a decoction of Indian spices by boiling grinded black peppercorn, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and dry ginger in two cups of water for 5-6 minutes. Strain the solution and drink it hot.
13. Chicken Soup
Eating and swallowing become difficult when you suffer from sore throat. In this case, soups help in soothing the inflammation and relieving the pain. Drink hot chicken soup to lubricate your throat.
Steam inhaling is also an effective measure for treating a sore throat. Heat water in a large vessel, and lean over the pot by covering your head with a towel. Breathe in the steam with the nose and mouth. Take necessary precautions to save yourself from the hot water and vessel. Else, take a hot shower or bath.
The intake of Echinacea helps in providing quick relief to sore throat.
16. Licorice (Mulethi) Root
Licorice root is anti-inflammatory in nature and is the main ingredient of many herbal teas. Its expectorant properties help in easing congestion and cough, thereby reducing sore throat.
Note: Licorice root should not be taken into a large amount as it causes low potassium levels and high blood pressure. Therefore, people with heart diseases must take precaution while consuming Licorice.
17. Vicks VapoRub
Gently massage Vicks VapoRub on your neck and chest while going for bed. Cover your neck and chest. You will certainly feel relief in the morning.
Homeopathic Remedies for Sore Throat
Various homeopathic remedies are also available for sore throat. Homeopathic medicines that are mostly taken for sore throat are Belladonna, Apis, Lachesis, Mercurius, Rhus Tox, Aconitum, etc.
The problem of sore throat can be reduced to a great extent by following the given below measures:
- In order to prevent the bacteria from spreading, wash your hands frequently.
- Don’t hold the cough. Cough whenever you need to.
- Don’t talk too much. Try to give your throat as much rest as you can.
- Drink a lot of water and fluids. But, avoid drinking fast.
- Avoid drinking cold drinks.
- While suffering from sore throat, don’t consume dairy products.
- Avoid eating too sweet food as excess sugar may irritate your throat.
- Cough drops may make your throat feel tired and heavy. So, don’t consume too many cough drops.
- Do not smoke or use tobacco while suffering from sore throat as it may worsen the disease. It’s best to give up smoking if you want to prevent this disorder from reoccurring in the future.
Depending on the cause of sore throat, it may last for 7 to 10 days. If the sore throat does not soothe or fix up within a week, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately as it may result in AIDS or throat cancer.