Sore throats are often associated with bacterial or viral illnesses, but these are not the only causes. Sometimes the throat becomes itchy, raw and inflamed due to allergies, dry air, acid reflux, or from overuse of the voice. No matter the cause, there are many different sore throat remedies available.
Over The Counter Sore Throat Remedies
Over the counter pain medications can bring some relief to a sore throat. Non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) medications like Aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, tend to work best because they reduce inflammation as well as alleviate pain. Acetaminophen does not reduce inflammation, but if you cannot use the other common medicines due to allergic reactions, it will provide some pain relief.
Instead of oral medications, or in addition to them, you can try throat-numbing sprays or lozenges. These are available at most pharmacies and grocery stores. They provide temporary relief by numbing the area. The most common ingredient is benzocaine or phenol, which are local anesthetics.
Many throat lozenges do not contain anesthetics yet can provide sore throat relief by coating the throat. These often contain soothing ingredients such as honey or pectin in addition to flavors to make the lozenge palatable. These nonmedicated lozenges are most beneficial if your sore throat is caused by yelling or singing too much or from dryness.
Natural Sore Throat Remedies
For those who want to avoid store-bought medications or lozenges, nature provides several easy sore throat remedies. Gargling with warm salt water will help you find almost instant relief and will help prevent infections. You can also make your own sore throat spray by steeping whole cloves in water or adding food-grade clove oil to water. Clove is an excellent numbing agent and it is tolerated well by most people.
Some herbs can act as sore throat remedies by either relieving inflammation or coating the throat. Slippery elm tea, for example, both coats the throat and contains some antiseptic compounds to prevent infection.
You might have a sore throat remedy sitting in your pantry this moment. Ginger and honey can be very effective for sore throats when brewed together with water as a tea or gargle. Ginger helps control inflammation and honey is antiseptic and provides a soothing coating to scratchy, inflamed tissue.
Sore throats related to overusing your voice should get better within twenty-four hours if you limit speaking and you use some of the lozenges, gargles, teas or other medications mentioned here. Sore throats caused by a virus or bacterial infection can take longer to heal. If nothing seems to relieve your sore throat, you should see a doctor to rule out a strep infection, which is a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics.