5 Ways to Soothe a Sore Throat

Is there any time of year your throat doesn’t become red, raspy or irritated at least every once in a while? With allergies running from spring through fall, cold season being year-long, and winter bringing dry air for many people across the U.S., a dry or sore throat can be pretty common. Whether your throat is irritated from allergy season, post-nasal drip, a cold or infection, or being indoors in dry, heated air during winter, soothing that soreness can be done with some simple home remedies.

Here are five remedies for soothing your sore throat:

1. Drink warm or cold fluids

When you tell someone you’re not feeling well, the first advice they give is often “drink lots of fluids.” Hot tea or warm water with lemon not only soothes your throat but also helps clear mucus from your throat. The steam from hot tea or soup also helps open up nasal passages and keeps mucus flowing. Cool or cold fluids can soothe an irritated throat too, clearing mucus and reducing soreness and swelling. Drink warm or cold fluids at different times throughout the day.

2. Honey

Honey coats your throat, which helps reduce irritation, and also has anti-bacterial properties. Its coating effect is especially helpful before bedtime to prevent coughing, feel relief and get a good night’s sleep. Swallow a teaspoonful alone or add it to warm tea or a hot toddy (add honey and lemon juice to hot water). When mixed with hot tea or a hot toddy, you get the added bonus of the hot liquid breaking up and thinning mucus.

3. Luden’s® Throat Drops

A convenient source of relief for a sore throat is to keep throat drops with you at home and on the go—year-round! Whether you suffer from dry mouth, have allergies or, are sick with a sore throat, Luden’s® Throat Drops bring soothing relief. Luden’s drops can help you speak smoothly through a meeting and temporarily relieve soreness due to your irritated throat. For most of the Luden’s drops, the active ingredient is pectin, which acts as a demulcent—forming a protective layer over mucous membranes and relieving inflammation and irritation. Some Luden’s varieties use menthol to cool and soothe a sore throat and help clear nasal passages. There is even a melatonin drop that calms throat irritation and may help with sleep when taken before going to bed. The Luden’s® Dual Relief throat drop uses pectin and menthol to soothe your throat and help you to stop coughing.

4. Gargle with Salt Water or Baking Soda

Did your mom or grandmother make you gargle with salt water when you had a sore throat as a kid? If so, she definitely knew her stuff! Gargling with warm salt water actually helps break down mucus, reduce swelling and soothe irritation in your throat. All you need is to dissolve a half-teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water, gargle in the back of your throat and spit out. Repeat every three hours as needed.

5. Add Steam to the Air

Another classic mom favorite is setting up a vaporizer or humidifier to add steam to your room while you sleep. Steam from a humidifier, vaporizer or even a hot shower helps loosen mucus, moisturizes your throat and soothes irritation. Using a humidifier throughout the winter also may help prevent sore throats caused by dry air.

You’ve probably noticed by now that you can use these tips alone or in combination with one another. Most of them can be used even when you don’t have a sore throat to keep your mucous membranes and throat moist, helping to prevent irritation. For example, if you have a speech to give and are worried about maintaining your voice the entire time, you can drink fluids, use honey and/or suck on a throat drop beforehand to help keep your throat moist.

One More Thing

If the above five tips don’t help and your sore throat gets worse or you have problems swallowing, fever, swollen lymph nodes or other symptoms, talk to your doctor. You may have an illness or infection that requires further treatment.