Sore throats are caused by an inflammation of the throat, usually by a virus or bacteria. A sore throat can cause considerable pain, hoarseness of the voice, and a general sense of feeling unwell. It can also come together with a fever, flu or cough.
There are many ways to help you feel better with a sore throat but most of them won’t last very long. Sore throats usually go away on their own and this can take a few days or up to a week. Pain is the real issue with a sore throat and in this article, we’ll show you how you can get some relief.
How Does a Sore Throat Feel?
Most people have had a sore throat at least once in their life. It could be a very mild one or it could come with a fever, enlarged tonsils and swollen lymph nodes.
Sore throats can cause a scratchy, prickly sensation in your throat. This pain can be constant and aggravated when you swallow something, even your saliva. This can make eating quite difficult and you may lose your appetite for this reason.1
In most cases, sore throats aren’t an isolated occurrence. They’re usually caused by a common cold, the flu, an allergy or exposure to some kind of pollution.2
Sore throat symptoms can be relieved in the following ways:
Lozenges often contain menthol and can be useful in helping your sore throat pain. They can have a lasting effect and once the effect has worn off, you can take another one, as long as it’s within the recommended dosage.
Bear in mind that some lozenges are sweet and can be loaded with sugar. If that’s something you’re avoiding, you might want to try sugar-free varieties or another method to help your sore throat feel better.
#2: Medicated Throat Rinses
Throat rinses can be bought from the pharmacy. These products can provide temporary pain relief from a sore throat.3
#3: Throat sprays
Just like throat rinses, medicated throat sprays can also treat the pain of a sore throat. They have a refreshing effect that is useful against an inflamed throat.4 However, they only provide pain relief for a limited period of time.
#4: Saltwater gargles
If you want a natural DIY remedy for a sore throat, gargling with warm salt water is something you should try. Saltwater can make the inflammation subside and soothe your throat.2
Honey mixed in warm beverages has been used for centuries to treat a burning sore throat. This natural ingredient helps soothe the throat.
We recommend taking a few drops of honey mixed in a cup of green tea or warm milk for the maximum soothing effect.
#6: Over the counter Pain killers
Simple painkillers like ibuprofen, naproxen and paracetamol also work well to relieve the pain of a sore throat. These painkillers are available over the counter.
These medications will start to kick in after half an hour to an hour but the pain-relieving effect is longer than any other method on this list.
#7: Drink more water!
Swallowing anything, even water can be painful when you have a bad case of a sore throat. But what if we tell you that it will actually help your sore throat in the long run?
Of course, this means you should stick to hydrating beverages. We recommend water at the top of the list but if you’re in the mood for something else, a bowl of warm soup, a cup of hot tea or milk are good choices too. On the other hand, you might want to avoid fizzy drinks, alcohol or coffee as they aren’t quite as hydrating.
Some people develop a sore throat because of the dry indoor air in their rooms. If you’re one of them, purchasing a humidifier might be a good idea. Dry, dehydrated mucous membranes in the mouth and throat make the pain of inflammation worse. A humidifier will help keep things moist inside your throat, especially if you need to breathe with your mouth open.
#9: Warm shower
A warm shower can help to unblock clogged nasal passages and make the pain of an inflamed, swollen sore throat better.5 It’s a good idea to have a warm shower before you go to bed – it could also help you sleep better.
#10: See your pharmacist
If your sore throat just isn’t getting better or is even getting worse, maybe it’s time to visit your pharmacist. You might just have some other problem underlying your sore throat that needs to be investigated and treated. As a rule of thumb, if a sore throat doesn’t go away in a week, visit your pharmacist.
- Sore Throat 101. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/sore-throat
- Flu Symptoms and Complications. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/symptoms/symptoms.html
- Acute sore throat revisited: clinical and experimental evidence for the efficacy of over-the-counter AMC/DCBA throat lozenges. Available at: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00631701/
- Cox AJ, Gleeson M, Pyne DB, et al. Respiratory symptoms and inflammatory responses to Difflam throat-spray intervention in half-marathon runners: a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2010;44:127-133.
- Sore Throat Home Remedies. Available at: https://www.medicinenet.com/sore_throat_home_remedies_and_treatment/article.htm