Home Remedies for a Sore Throat

For some reason, Jack and I always seem to get sick in the month of January.  I don't know if it's because we made it through the stress of the holidays and our bodies just can't take any more, the crazy erratic Texas weather (high 75, low 35 - what?!), or the jumpstart of increased activity in the New Year, but whatever it is, Jack and I have been rocking winter colds for about a week now.  We aren't sick enough to justify a visit to the doctor (and colds are viral anyway, so there's not much the doc could do for us) so I've been babying our sore throats, runny noses, and coughs at home.  Of all the symptoms of a cold, having a sore throat is the most bothersome for me.  I don't mind blowing my nose or coughing, but I just cannot deal with a sore throat!  Or rather, when I have a cold, a sore throat is what I treat most aggressively.  Here are my home remedies for a sore throat.

A Spoonful of Honey:  Honey is amazing at reducing the pain of a sore throat.  As it coats the throat, it acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling and inflammation.  Honey is also naturally antibacterial and antiseptic which can help prevent a secondary infection.  Honey creates a protective barrier between a sore throat and air (ugh - I hate the way breathing hurts when I have a sore throat!) making it possible for me to sleep at night.  I take one spoonful of honey every few hours at the first sign of a sore throat.

Salt Water Gargle:  Warm (not hot) water plus a teaspoon (or two) of salt is a miracle solution for a sore throat.  Warm salt water helps reduce throat swelling which in turn helps reduce pain and discomfort.  Salt water also acts as an antibacterial agent, again, reducing the possibility of a secondary infection.  Warm salt water is soothing, too.  Just make sure the water isn't too hot (hot water can make inflammation worse) and that you don't swallow the solution.

Throat Lozenges:  And I'm not talking about any throat lozenge.  Find one with zinc in the ingredient list.  Zinc helps boost your immune system and can shorten the length of a cold.  I like these lozenges and these rapid melts{affiliate and affiliate}, but beware, if you have too many of them, you can get a funny filmy taste in your mouth that just kinda sticks around.

Herbal Tea:  Sipping on warm (not hot) herbal tea with plenty of honey and some lemon also soothes sore throats.  This is one of my favorites {affiliate}.  Drinking tea also helps keep you hydrated and dehydration can make a sore throat even worse, so make sure to drink plenty of fluids even if it's not tea.

Ice Chips:  Between cups of tea, I like to suck on ice chips.  Again, this helps with hydration and the cold from the melting ice also reduces inflammation as well as numbing the throat.

Anti-Inflammatories:  I also make sure to take an over the counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen.  If your throat is too sore to swallow a pill, you can take a children's liquid variety - just make sure you take the appropriate dosage.  And this goes without saying, but I'm not a doctor so if you have any questions about this, make sure to consult with your doctor.

As you can see, I don't take having a sore throat lightly.  At the very first sign of having a sore throat, I start doing all of these things and am usually able to keep the worst of it at bay.  Of course, there have been times when my sore throat isn't from a cold and is caused by something else.  I've had tonsillitis and strep throat numerous times and that obviously called for a doctor's visit (or two), so make sure you see your doctor if symptoms don't clear up in  a couple of days or if they worsen.

Are there any home remedies you use that I didn't cover in this list?  I'd love to hear about them - drop me a comment and tell me what works for you!

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