We all know that feeling. A tightness starts to develop in the back of our throat. Then it turns to scratchiness before ultimately becoming a painful nuisance that we can’t get rid of.
A sore throat can turn our whole week upside down. It inhibits our ability to talk, eat, drink, and even just breathe comfortably. But don’t worry – if you’re looking for how to get rid of a sore throat fast, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s take a look at some quick tips for sore throat relief.
What can cause a sore throat?
There are a variety of things that can cause a sore throat including:
- Viral infections, such as the common cold or flu
- Bacterial infections, such as strep throat
Of these, viral infections are the most common culprits. However, these will typically go away on their own with time. On the other hand, bacterial infections and allergies may require medication to improve.
Is a sore throat a sign of COVID?
A sore throat is a symptom of COVID, which is a viral infection. However, a sore throat doesn’t necessarily mean you have COVID. Other possible symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever or chills
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Loss of taste or smell
These symptoms, in addition to a sore throat, can also result from viruses other than COVID as well, like the flu. The only way to know for sure whether your sore throat is due to the coronavirus is to get tested.
How long does a sore throat last?
Depending on the reason for your sore throat, it could last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. In cases of viral infections, you can recover from a sore throat in 3-10 days.
However, if your sore throat is stemming from a bacterial infection that goes untreated, it could carry on. If you have a cough or runny nose in tandem with a sore throat, it’s likely a virus but you can always schedule a checkup with your doctor to make sure.
Sore Throat Remedies
Regardless of the reason for your sore throat, it can be extremely uncomfortable and even downright painful. So in the meantime, here are some sore throat remedies that can help you manage your symptoms and get rid of that sore throat fast.
Drinking a lot of fluids is essential to kick a sore throat quickly. This helps clear mucous from the throat. Warm liquids, such as tea, in particular, can not only clear things out, but also ease the pain of a sore throat. You can enhance the benefits of tea for sore throat by sipping on green tea and adding a little bit of honey and a squeeze of lemon. Green tea has been shown to shorten the length of illnesses and honey has antibacterial properties. Plus, lemon will add a dose of vitamin C—an essential, immunity-boosting vitamin. This combo will satisfy, soothe, and support your recovery.
If you think allergies may be at the root of your sore throat, antihistamines may help. Antihistamines help block the over-production of histamines, which can cause congestion and post-nasal drip. And post nasal drip can often be a sneaky culprit for a sore or irritated throat. Have a conversation with your doctor to see if an over-the-counter antihistamine could be right for you.
As you might know, dryness can aggravate an already sore throat. So it makes sense that humidity would have the opposite effect. If you want to soothe your sore throat and help clear out mucus, embrace those long steamy showers. You can also sleep with a humidifier to keep moisture in the air throughout your room during the night.
If there is one thing that can help speed up recovery from almost any illness, it’s most certainly sleep. And a sore throat is no different because getting that extra rest is critical to kicking our immune system into overdrive.
If you want to get rid of a sore throat fast, it’s imperative to get quality sleep and enough of it. Some tips for a good night’s rest include lowering the temperature in your room and minimizing the amount of light or noise. If you’re having trouble falling or staying asleep, consider making some changes to your sleep environment for better results.
Your throat can also benefit from taking a rest while you are awake. In other words, less talk and running around equals faster relief.
Does gargling salt water help a sore throat?
Gargling salt water can help a sore throat in a number of ways. Salt water helps both reduce irritation and swelling in your throat which can in turn reduce your symptoms and speed up recovery. Simply dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle before spitting it out.
Does honey help a sore throat?
Honey can also help with a sore throat for a few reasons. For one, the thick liquid acts as a soothing and protective coating for your throat to prevent further irritation. In addition, honey’s natural antibacterial activity promotes healing which speed up the recovery process and aid natural defenses. In fact, people for centuries have been using honey for sore throats and a number of other ailments for these exact reasons. Add a teaspoon of honey to your favorite warm beverage for an added boost.
Does ibuprofen help a sore throat?
Ibuprofen is a common over-the-counter pain reliever. As such, it can help ease the pain of a sore throat. Unfortunately, although it can help reduce the pain, it won’t speed up the recovery process in any meaningful way.
Does ice cream help a sore throat?
If you’re wondering does ice cream help a sore throat, you’re not off track. Cold liquids, be it ice cream or a popsicle, can help ease the pain of a sore throat. However, too much sugar may be counterproductive especially if your sore throat is due to a bacterial infection. So while that ice cream may feel comforting in the short term, there are better options for getting rid of a sore throat fast.
When to see your doctor for a sore throat
If you are experiencing a sore throat for more than a few days without improvement or if your symptoms are severe, it’s important to see your doctor for a diagnosis. Severe symptoms or signs of a bacterial infection, such as strep or scarlet fever, include:
- Red or swollen tonsils
- White patches on the back of the throat
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
What’s good for a sore throat?
Finding out what’s good for a sore throat is somewhat a test of trial and error. While all of the above can help ease symptoms and speed up recovery to some extent, in some cases antibiotics or other prescribed medicines are the only way to get rid of your sore throat. If you have a pain or irritation that has persisted for more than a few days, you should talk with your doctor about possible solutions.
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