Ugh! That scratchy feeling – like swallowing barbed wire – is often the first sign of a cold or flu infection. While only rest, time and plenty of fluids can get rid of a cold virus, here are 5 things you can do to soothe that awful sore throat:
1. Gargle. Try gargling several times a day with warm salt water – it can loosen mucus, helping to flush out bacteria or irritants. How much salt to how much water? Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water – and remember to spit the water out, no swallowing!
2. Pain killers. You probably have one of the most effective treatments for sore throat in your medicine cabinet: any over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin. These medicines combine pain relief with anti-inflammatories, so they take away swelling while dulling the pain. Remember to follow the proper dosage instructions, and eat something before you take them.
3. Lozenges. Suck on throat or cough lozenges – they help to stimulate saliva production, which helps to keep your throat moist. Talk to your pharmacist about the best lozenges for a sore throat – ones containing menthol be cooling, which soothes an inflamed throat.
4. Sprays. Anti-bacterial and antiseptic throat sprays can dull the pain – again, talk to your pharmacist about the best one for you, and stick follow the instructions.
5. Stay hydrated! Drink water, tea, chicken soup or diluted fruit juice to keep your mucous membranes moist and to help your body do its job of fighting off that virus!
Lastly, and most important, is rest. If your sore throat is being caused by a cold or flu virus, your immune system needs to do all the fighting – lie down and let it win.