What makes your throat sore?
- Infections are the most common reason you get a sore throat.
- Pollens and molds that irritate the nose when they are inhaled may also irritate the throat.
- Cat and dog dander and house dust are common causes of sore throats for people with allergies to them.
- Dry air may create a mild sore throat with a parched feeling, especially in the mornings.
- Pollutants and chemicals in the air can irritate the nose and throat.
- Straining the voice (yelling at a sports event, for example) can cause a sore throat.
- Regurgitation of stomach acids up into the back of the throat can make your throat sore.
- Tumors of the throat, tongue, and larynx (voice box) are usually can result in a sore throat.
When Should I See a Doctor? When a sore throat is severe, lasts longer than 5 to 7 days, and is not associated with an avoidable allergy or irritation, see your doctor. The following signs and symptoms should alert you to see your physician:
- Severe and prolonged sore throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty opening the mouth
- Joint pain
- Fever (over 101)
- Blood in saliva or phlegm
- Frequently recurring sore throat
- Lump in neck (one OR both sides)
- Hoarseness lasting over two weeks
Sore Throat Home Remedies It makes little difference what CAUSES your sore throat when all you want is relief! The good news is that the following remedies are helpful regardless of why your throat is sore. Here are a few general suggestions that can help anyone;
- Increase your liquid intake
- Drink a cup of warm tea with honey a couple times each day, especially at bedtime. Chamomile is excellent. Instead of honey consider using XYLITOL as a sweetener. It is a sugar, but it’s special. One brand is XyloSweet. It is 100% xylitol, sweet like sugar, has no aftertaste and it’s safe for diabetics and people with hypoglycemia.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom and slightly elevate your head (an extra pillow is fine)
- How about a HOMEOPATHIC remedy? I’ve tried VINCEEL and it is very good.
Now for some more specific remedies
- Apple cider vinegar; mix 2 tablespoons in a glass of warm water and gargle with it 3 or more times each day. This is also helpful in killing some of the harmful bacteria in your mouth and throat.
- Cayenne pepper; mix half teaspoonful with a cup of hot water. When the mixture is cool enough, but still very warm, gargle with it. The pepper will open the blood vessels and help draw out the infection.
- Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the hot cayenne pepper mix above. Use it as a gargle.
- Mix equal parts honey and lemon juice (fresh or in the bottle Real Lemon). Sip this mixture as often as needed. It is very soothing. This is an excellent choice for children.
- Mix three parts of the honey/lemon mixture with one part “booze” (whiskey, gin, vodka, your choice). This is an adult treatment and probably best used when you won’t be “driving or operating any heavy machinery.”
- Hard candy is a soothing treatment. I’ve tried the sugar free but they just don’t help as much. If you have a cold or a stuffy nose too, try candy (or cough drops) that contains menthol. It helps un-stuff your nasal passages while it soothes your sore throat.
- Mix two tablespoons of table salt in warm water and use as a gargle every hour or so. It’s simple and it works.
Keep in mind that these remedies are to help your throat FEEL better. Do your best to eliminate the cause of your pain. If your sore throat lasts longer than 7 days or so (and it isn’t caused by something you can avoid) you may have an infection that requires professional treatment. Be sure to contact your doctor.