Winter in South Carolina is obviously not as brutal as it is in Minnesota or North Dakota, but the cold can still limit your activities and keep you indoors. Unfortunately, it’s also the prime time of year for sore throats. If a scratchy, sore throat has you down for the count, there are steps you can take to help hasten it on its way.
Sore Throat Symptoms
Everybody is familiar with the telltale signs of a sore throat – an itchy, scratchy sensation that is often the precursor of an impending cold. In addition to throat pain, symptoms of a sore throat include hoarseness, scratchiness, dryness, swallowing difficulty, swollen neck or jaw glands and tonsil inflammation. Sore throats usually clear up on their own within a few days, but the following steps will help speed up the recovery process and relieve your discomfort sooner rather than later.
- Get plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep goes a long way toward making you feel better regardless of your illness, helping your body build up strength to fight off infection. Bed rest is key, but it’s equally important to rest your voice. Silence is golden! Refrain from using your vocal cords as much as possible in order to prevent strain.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of liquids in order to keep your throat moist. Avoid alcoholic beverages which can exacerbate the sore throat. You can also try sucking on hard candy, ice cubes, throat lozenges or cough drops to help soothe pain and discomfort.
- Gargle with warm salt water. You don’t have to take a trip to Cancun in order to take advantage of this remedy (though wouldn’t that be nice!). Instead, simply dissolve half a teaspoon in a glass of warm water and gargle with the solution several times a day in order to reduce inflammation.
- Try over-the-counter pain medications. Unless your sore throat is the result of a bacterial infection, antibiotics won’t be of any help. Instead, try over-the-counter pain relievers. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen offer the best results.
- Avoid environmental irritants. Tobacco smoke and other environmental pollutants irritate the windpipe, causing you to cough, which leads to additional inflammation and slows down the healing process. Put away the cigarettes when you’re sick and avoid other triggers such as dry air and extreme temperature changes.
- Give your immune system a boost. The best way to keep your immune system strong? Stick to a healthy, balanced diet. Make sure to get plenty of Vitamins C and D, which are particularly helpful.
- Visit your CENTA professional. If your sore throat persists or worsens in spite of your efforts at self-care, a checkup by one of the ear, nose, throat, and allergy doctors or advanced care practitioners at CENTA Medical Group can help ensure you aren’t suffering from a more serious disease like strep throat or tonsillitis. Likewise, if your sore throat lasts longer than a week, it’s a good idea to get it checked out.