Warm and cold fluids
Liquids help clear mucous membranes, keep things flowing and prevent sinus infections. Warm temperatures may also reduce coughs by soothing the back of the throat. Try both warm and cold to see what works best for you.
Salt water can help reduce swelling and irritation in your throat. Baking soda also soothes the throat, breaks up mucus and can help with throat-irritating acid reflux.
Histamines are chemicals that help your immune system fight foreign substances. But sometimes they go overboard, triggering symptoms (such as congestion and post-nasal drip) that can make a sore throat feel worse.
Antihistamines can counteract this overreaction.
Steam and humidity
Steam loosens mucus and can moisturise and soothe a sore throat.
- Honey coats your throat and soothes it by reducing irritation. Honey also has antibacterial properties, and the sweetness can calm the throat’s nerve endings and reduce coughing.
- Whiskey (a small amount; too much can dehydrate you) breaks up and thins mucus. Whiskey also dilates the blood vessels on the surface of the throat, so immune cells in your blood can multiply and fight the infection.
l Spices stimulate saliva production, improving both hydration and mucus flow in your throat.
Do not underestimate physically resting your body and voice. But beware: Lying flat can sometimes cause swelling due to an increase in pressure at the back of the throat. Instead, try elevating the bed or sitting propped up or in a chair to alleviate the pain and discomfort.
When to see a doctor
Call a doctor if you:
- Have throat pain that is severe, prolonged or not improving, or stretches into your ear.
- Have trouble swallowing, breathing or opening your mouth.
- Are coughing up blood or have blood in your saliva.
- Feel enlarged lymph nodes, or lumps, in your neck.
- Have white patches on the back of your throat or a rash, possible signs of strep throat or scarlet fever.
- Have a high fever.
- Lose your voice for more than a week or two.