Summer is still in full swing so many of us aren’t thinking about cold and flu season yet, but it’ll be here before long. That should be obvious judging from the Halloween displays already lining store shelves! Sore throats are one of the most common symptoms related to illness in Huntsville and Madison. Before you reach for the medicine cabinet, consider natural remedies to help with the pain and discomfort.
Treating a Sore Throat Without Medicine
Sore throats bring a scratchy, itchy, painful sensation that can make it difficult to swallow. Whether or not they accompany other symptoms of colds and flu, they can make you feel downright miserable. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies that will have you feeling better in no time—and save you a trip to a Huntsville ear, nose and throat specialist.
Try the following to relieve your discomfort.
- Honey coats the throat, providing soothing relief, and contains a compound that the body converts to hydrogen peroxide and other antibacterial properties. Avoid giving a child younger than one honey due to the risk of botulism.
- Frozen foods. Foods that are frozen help numb the tissues and nerves and reduce pain. Ice cream, frozen yogurt, Popsicles—and even plain ice—all work wonders.
- Cold foods aren’t the only ones effective in soothing the throat. Warm beverages work, too—and one of the best is tea. Herbal teas and those containing ginger, sage, thyme and chamomile are your best choices.
- Saltwater gargle. Adding 1/4 to ½ teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and gargling with it several times a day will help relieve throat pain.
- Chicken soup. Your grandma was right; chicken soup really is a cure-all when you’re sick. Data shows chicken soup inhibits neutrophils (components in your body that cause inflammation in the throat) from migrating, improving the chances you’ll feel better more quickly.
- Potato poultice. Try cooking and mashing potatoes, wrapping them in a cloth when they’re still hot and adding a second cloth. Apply this to your neck and leave it in place for a few hours; this stimulates circulation and works as a homemade heating pad.
- Besides keeping vampires at bay, garlic can help with illnesses. A compound called allicin is believed to contain antimicrobial properties.
- Certain vitamins and minerals, such as zinc and elderberry, have been shown to reduce symptoms. Another effective, but less common, one is Pelargonium sidoides root extract (also known as South African geranium); this reduces the severity and duration of sore throats, especially in children. It’s important to speak with your doctor before starting a supplement regimen.
- Vicks VapoRub. Mom knows best, it turns out. A favorite parental remedy for decades, Vicks VapoRub contains camphor, menthol and eucalyptus ointment—all of which help relieve discomfort and make breathing easier. And it’s safe on children too young to take medicine.
- Adding moisture to the air makes breathing easier and can relieve discomfort.
If you have tried these remedies and your sore throat symptoms haven’t cleared up in a few days, make an appointment with an ENT doctor in Huntsville or Madison.