Sore throat overview – The throat is the general term used to refer to the group of structures behind the mouth and those that are housed by the neck including the tonsils, pharynx, larynx, esophagus and lymph nodes. Whenever any of these structures is swelling, the manifestations are generally referred to as sore throat by the lay persons. However, many medical experts refer to the pharynx as throat. Hence, they also call sore throat as pharyngitis.
Pain is usually apparent behind the mouth and at the cervical (neck) region, where the said anatomical structures are located. This may lead to further manifestations like difficulty or painful swallowing. Some individuals may even experience difficulty of breathing from partially blocked airway related to swollen throat. Other symptoms include coughing, mild fever, body malaise (fatigue), runny nose, inflamed cervical lymph nodes, and bad breath (halitosis). Swelling of the throat can be caused by infection, irritating food or drink ingested (too hot or too cold, too acidic, too sweet) and any other means that make the throat sore.
To relieve sore throat, there are several home remedies that can be carried out. Most of these remedies make use of natural ingredients or substances that are usually available at home and are safe even without the doctor’s prescription.
How to treat sore throat at home?
Source – badlyricpolice
Warm Saline Gargle
Warm saline is a solution of warm water and salt. Since sore throat is an inflammatory condition, it is expected that fluids are accumulating in the throat tissues that make them swell. Salt is expected to draw fluids out from the tissues. Thus, it is effective in decreasing the swelling in the throat. The fluids that accumulate are responsible for nerve ending compression that results to pain. This implies that reducing the inflammation would relieve pain as well.
To prepare a saline solution:
- Boil at least 2 cups of water for 15 to 20 minutes. This is to ensure that the water used is sterilized and is free from microbes that may cause further infection.
- Let the water cool down until it is luke warm. Make sure it is not too hot or else the throat will become more swollen or burn injury might result. It should not also be at room temperature or cold. The warmth of the water aims to promote blood circulation into the sore throat. This will speed up the healing process.
- Pour 8 ounces of warm water into a glass and add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Mix properly until the salt is completely dissolved.
- Test the temperature if it can be tolerated by the oral mucosa.
- Gargle solution of adequate amount but do not overfill the mouth. The space within the mouth allows movement of the solution. Aside from reducing the swelling, the movement of the solution will also remove pus from the throat. The pus contains dead tissues, entrapped microorganisms and other debris of the inflammatory process. Therefore, do not swallow the gargled solution.
- Repeat gargling until the 8 ounce solution is consumed. Do the procedure three times a day. Do not overdo to prevent dehydration of tissues.
Other points to remember for faster healing and to avoid recurrent swelling of throat:
- Avoid consuming foods or drinks that are too acidic, spicy, hot or icy cold. These will irritate the throat and would worsen the inflammation.
- Eat soft foods or as tolerated.
- Boost immune system functions by taking vitamin C and resting properly.
- Replace toothbrush every 3 months. Microbes might inhabit in the toothbrush causing recurrent throat infection.
- Stop smoking. Cigarette is consists of several toxic substances that can irritate the throat lining.
- Perform oral hygiene regularly or at least every after meal.
When to consult a doctor:
- When saline gargle doesn’t relieve the symptoms or the manifestations exacerbate in 3 days. There might be a serious underlying condition and sore throat can be just one of its symptoms.
- When the throat are swollen enough to block the airway and when difficulty of breathing is experienced. Respiratory arrest might result when the airway is completely obstructed by the inflamed tissues.
- When oral nutrition becomes not possible due to discomfort and too much throat pain upon swallowing. This indicates need for parenteral nutrition or intravenous fluid administration.
- When sore throat is accompanied by productive cough. Most sore throats are caused by microorganisms and are symptoms of bacterial respiratory tract infection. This require intake of appropriate antibiotic per doctor’s order.
- When there is palpitation and light headedness. Other vital systems of the body might be involved in the condition such as the cardiovascular system, nervous system or the endocrine system. This demand for further assessment by the medical practitioner.
Sore throat is not an illness to ignore. Some people might believe that it will heal on its own. However, there are measures that can be undertaken to promote healing process and prevent complications of the said condition. Once again, home remedies are efficient and safe but there are times that medical interventions are required.