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HEALTH HINTS

Fighting Sore Throat

By: Lourdes Nena A. Cabison-Carlos, MDFighting Sore Throat

Welcome to the brrr months! Along with the cold weather comes a variety of unwelcomed visitors which include that scratchy, painful, or itchy irritation on your throat. Here’s a quick guide on how to deal with this minor drawback to get you back to cheering for the holidays.

The Culprits

There are many causes of sore throat including shouting yourself hoarse on that rocking party you had last night. Viruses are a common culprit (especially those that cause the common colds and flu). Some are caused by allergies, dry air and pollution. Still, some are caused by bacterial infections that bring about tonsillitis, etc.

The Remedies

Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. Here are some tips to help you deal with sore throat to keep you back on track:

  • Rest. This is the first step in dealing with any disease. Anytime you feel under the weather, rest. This is also true for sore throats. Rest and rest your voice.
  • Gargle with salt water. This is an old, time-tested remedy. Salt water is hypertonic, so it has some antibacterial properties. Preparing it is easy. Just mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of table salt to 4 to 8 ounces of warm water and gargle after every meal. Don’t forget to spit it out! On the same note, avoid alcohol-based mouthwash to prevent oral dryness.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Stock up on water. This will keep your throat moist and prevent you from getting dehydrated. Stay away from that tequila and margarita in the meantime. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages can dehydrate you.
  • Try chicken soup for that sore throat. It keeps you hydrated and gives you calories, carbs and protein while your picky taste buds recover.
  • Lozenges. These can help soothe that soreness temporarily. Beware of giving lozenges to very young children as they may choke on these. Some even come with antibacterial ingredients.
  • Try turning on that humidifier to lessen air dryness.
  • Avoid irritants. Stay away from smoke, don’t smoke and keep that dust at bay. Strong perfumes can also trigger allergies so it’s best to go au natural in the meantime.   

Reminders

While other natural remedies such as chamomile tea, peppermint and honey can offer relief from sore throat, be wary of giving these to young children. Honey is not recommended for kids younger than 1 year of age. When trying a home remedy for your child, check with your pediatrician first.

Although they are generally safe, use over-the-counter (OTC) medications with caution. Some of them come in combination, hence you might take an ingredient you don’t really need. So always read the label and when in doubt, ask the opinion of your doctor. For children, especially those less than 4 years of age, avoid using OTC meds without your pedia’s go signal.

Anytime you develop fever, difficulty in breathing and/or swallowing, notice pus in your throat or if your sore throat lasts for more than a week, visit your doctor right away.

Stop the Spread

Do not let sore throat keep you from enjoying the holidays. The best thing to do is to keep it away. Always practice good hygiene. Teach every member of your family and your circle of friends to wash their hands thoroughly. Avoid contact with sick people. If you have to sneeze, cough or touch your mouth or nose, use a tissue, please, and sanitize your hands after. Common items such as phones and pens can harbour germs so avoid touching other people’s belongings. And since you will be eating plenty, don’t share your utensils! Keep the germs away and party on! Happy holidays!

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