Are you wary of a sore throat? At this time of year especially, who isn’t? Whether it’s the cold, the flu, allergies, or something else entirely, a sore throat could accompany whatever it is you caught.
Experiencing a Sore Throat
A sore throat and its compounding symptoms are never fun. The typical signs of a sore throat are pain & scratchiness, pain or difficulty while swallowing, swelling of the tonsils, and a hoarse voice for a period of time.
The course of symptoms can vary, depending on what is causing a bout of sore throat. Viral infections are the predominant cause. The most common viral infections are cold and flu. In these cases, a sore throat is usually accompanied by a runny nose, sneezing, fever, and/or fatigue.
There are other causes of sore throat, as well. Strep throat is a bacterial infection that can progress to sore throat, as well as other symptoms affecting the thyroid, and fever. Children ages 5-15 are those most likely to experience strep, but it can happen at any age. A sore throat can also be caused by acid reflux, as well as allergies. Just be aware that strep throat and sore throat, while related, are two separate illnesses, each with its own protocol for effective treatment.
When to See a Doctor for a Sore Throat
Much of the time, a sore throat and any concurrent symptoms don’t necessitate a visit to a doctor or healthcare provider. But under some circumstances, medical attention becomes a recommendation, and even a necessity. It’s critical that children and adults seek medical care if they experience any difficulty breathing or swallowing, or unusual drooling, that might accompany a sore throat.
Other symptoms that call for medical attention include: a sore throat lasting longer than a week, a fever over 101 degrees F, joint pain, earache, coughing or spitting up blood, and/or the presence of a lump in the neck. All of these could potentially be symptoms of more severe medical issues.
Remedies for a Sore Throat
Certain herbs and supplements are able to soothe a sore throat. These could be of particular interest if you hope to avoid typical over-the-counter meds for your symptoms. It is recommended, however, that you consult your healthcare provider before taking a new supplement.
Vitamin C can be instrumental in reducing the duration and severity of a sore throat, if taken soon after onset of symptoms. At least 1,000 mg vitamin C per day is recommended, but you can take more, within reason. Vitamin C bolsters the immune system and increases white blood cell count. Loading up on vitamin C enables the immune system to combat an infection soon after it begins.
Licorice root is an herb that can be taken as an oral supplement. Licorice root has antioxidant and antiviral properties that make it useful to reduce the symptoms of a cold, including sore throat. This is known as one of the herbs typically recommended by naturopaths for throat soreness and dry cough.
Zinc is a great supplement to take to reduce the chance you experience a sore throat or cold, and associated symptoms. It has strong antiviral properties. Zinc can also help shorten the duration and severity of illness if taken soon after the onset of an infection.
Eucalyptus oil is an essential oil with antioxidant properties. It can function in the body as an antiseptic, meaning that it can mitigate infection. This makes it useful for relieving a sore throat and cough. A few drops of eucalyptus oil can be diffused in steam, or even applied gently and directly to the throat and chest, for relief.
If a sore throat hits you, don’t allow it to cause discomfort without doing something about it. The above supplements can prove helpful in alleviating or preventing a sore throat, and even a cough and other symptoms.