So you screamed your head off at the Taylor Swift concert last night and now you can’t shake it off. Or maybe you should have thought twice about sitting next to that guy with the hacking cough on the train, but your feet were killing you and it was the only available seat. Or perhaps your date was wrong when he assured you it was just allergies and he was totally down for some Netflix and chill.
Whatever the cause, your throat feels like you swallowed a can of nails and you want some relief. When you want to get back to feeling your best, there are a few things to remember. While there are several remedies to soothe your sore throat until a physician can see you, there are a few different things to consider.
What is causing your sore throat?
Sore throats can have a variety of causes. Most commonly, sore throats are a symptom of the common cold. The common cold is a virus, which means there are no medical treatments to cure it. So suck it up, buttercup—rest, hot tea and throat lozenges may be the only things that bring relief. But sore throats are also caused by bacterial infections, the most notorious being strep throat, named for streptococcus bacteria. Strep throat is often more severe than a sore throat and can also cause an inflammation of the tonsils—also known as tonsillitis. Not good times.
Medical tests and treatments
Physicians will likely do a quick swab of your throat to test for a wide array of bacterial and viral infections. Swab results are usually returned in as little as 10 minutes in urgent care offices. Physicians and medical practitioners may prescribe antibiotics for any sore throats caused by bacterial infections.
Over-the-counter oral analgesics (which is just a fancy word for cough drops) may be recommended, such as Cepacol lozenges, Chloraseptic sprays, oral pain medications and menthol lozenges.
Do: Eat foods that are soft, semisolid, and coat your throat. Applesauce, soups and popsicles are good. While gravy fits the bill, it might be a little weird to carry around a gravy boat and slurp from it all day. Yogurt would be a much better choice as it is filled with probiotics to give your digestive system a boost.
Don’t: Avoid coarse foods and foods with a high acid base, spicy or sour flavoring, or foods consumed at high temperatures. And lay off the margaritas while you’re sick. Sure, the icy goodness might seem like the perfect antidote to a throat coated with broken glass, but the tequila won’t do a body good.
Do: Keep well hydrated. Since your body is made up of nearly 70 percent water, it is essential to stay hydrated in order to be in great health.
Don’t: Do not consume alcohol. No, not even a hot toddy. Alcohol burns a healthy throat; imagine what it will do to your sore throat.
Do: Hand washing and sanitizing help kill the germs and keep you from infecting all of your unsuspecting friends and family. Germs: the gifts that keep on giving.
Don’t: Don’t share food or drink with another person. And put your make-out sessions on hold until you’re absolutely sure you’re not contagious.
Make an appointment or visit an urgent care center to rule out any serious bacterial or viral infections. Some clinics (like Innovative Express Care) do offer telemedicine, so you may not need to leave the comfort of your home.
Gargle with warm salt water to help soothe the pain while also providing gentle cleaning to get rid of those disgusting germs.
Rest your throat by whispering and speaking in softer tones. If you are a parent, this may be impossible.
Utilize a humidifier to keep the air moist and prevent yourself from coughing up a storm. But check the filter on that thing—breathing in black mold is worse than any cold you may have.
If your sore throat is accompanied by fever, rash, nausea, vomiting or headaches, seek medical treatment. Do not attempt to self-treat your sore throat if it is accompanied by additional symptoms.
Although a sore throat can be extremely uncomfortable, you need not suffer through it like your seventh-grade sex ed class. With a wide variety of both medical treatments and natural remedies to soothe discomfort, you can be feeling better in no time. At Innovative Express Care, we pride ourselves in our high-tech, convenient, affordable and discreet health care with little to no wait.
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