When you have a sore throat, it hurts to talk. It hurts to swallow. Your throat feels tight and you feel miserable. A sore throat is more likely to send you to the doctor than a cold.
However, if you do go to the doctor with a sore throat you may not receive a proper treatment.
Quite often doctors prescribe antibiotics to cure a sore throat. However, antibiotics are only effective in treating illnesses caused by bacteria. Most sore throats are the result of cold and flu
An antibiotic is not effective in treating a viral infection. In addition, taking antibiotics unnecessarily can build up a resistance in your body and when you really do need an antibiotic it might not be as effective.
So what can you do? First, you need to determine if the sore throat is flu-related. If so, you will have other symptoms such as fatigue and body aches.
If the sore throat is flu-related, you should avoid over-the-counter pain relievers such as aspirin. Instead, use anesthetic throat sprays or lozenges.
They will quickly relieve pain by numbing the delicate throat tissues on contact. The most effective throat sprays and lozenges contain dyclonine so look for that ingredient on the label.
There are also some home remedies. These may not be prescribed by doctors but over the years they have worked for many sufferers. An age-old one is chicken soup. Another is cabbage broth. Chicken soup has bee studied by a University of Nebraska medical team and found to really relieve cold symptoms. However, researchers are not sure which ingredients in the soup actually do this. But laboratory studies have shown that the soup combats inflammation and gives your immunity system a boost bringing about a faster recovery.
Inhaling steam for about twenty minutes will also relieve pain and dryness by shrinking the swollen tissues. You can use a facial steamer or take a hot steamy shower. You can also fill a bowl with boiling water, hold a towel over your head and breathe in the steam.
Zinc lozenges have been found to help a sore throat. You should suck on one every two to three hours for relief. Be sure that the lozenge you purchase contains at least 12.8 mg. of zinc. This cure was reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine and doctors believe the zinc boosts the body's immune system, which allows it to fight off the virus. There are also over-the-counter nasal sprays that contain zinc.
Another home remedy is gargling with warm salt water.
One other of Grandma's home cures is now recommended in a book entitled "Staying Healthy with Nutrition" by Elson Haas, MD You mix together 3/4 teaspoon of honey, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and 1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper. Then you slowly swallow the mixture.
If your sore throat is accompanied by swollen neck glands, fever, chills and red and white patches at the back of your throat, you may have a strep throat. To confirm this, your doctor will take a throat culture. Strep throat is bacterial caused so your doctor will probably prescribe an antibiotic.