The weather is quickly changing and in many places this means adjusting to fluxuating hot and cold patterns both outside and indoors. And for some, this time of year can also pose a challenge to the body’s immune system. Oftentimes a sore throat is one of the first symptoms of our body’s fight against the common cold or flu. It can also be the result of dry-cold weather, lack of rest, viruses, certain bacteria, cigarette smoke and pollutants in the air. Generally, however, a sore, swelling, scratchy throat can be quickly alleviated and further discomfort or illness avoided by taking quick, proactive action. I have provided some healthy tips below that may assist you in treating a sore throat and strengthening your immune system as you enter fully into the fall/winter season.
(Please note that if you suspect a sore throat to be indicative of something more serious and/or does not go away quickly, please visit your local health care provider who can help you identify and treat any causes of the ongoing discomfort.)
What To Look For
- Pain, swelling, scratchiness or irritation in the throat
- Drink lemon or honey tea to soothe a sore throat.
- Echinacea, mint and other herbs can be included in warm water.
- Throat lozenges containing Echinacea, mint, vitamins and other minerals are very soothing. They also increase the production of saliva (important if soreness is due to dry, cold weather).
- Try gargling 2 – 3 times a day with ½ teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water.
- A vaporizer or humidifier helps moisten the air and eliminate germs which cause dry, painful throats.
- Avoid use of antibiotics.
- Find time to get adequate rest.
- Avoid spending extended time outside in cold weather or in cities with high levels of air pollution.
- Avoid extended time in areas with poor ventilation and/or areas where people are smoking cigarettes.
- If there is swelling, difficulty breathing, high fever and/or redness in the throat, contact your local health care provider immediately to see if it is symptomatic of a more serious infection or illness.