Curing and preventing that sore throat

IRRITATION: Choose the best cure for your sore throat. Photo credit: Twitter

WHETHER the onset of your sore throat is the result of too much screaming, an early symptom of a cold or the result of working in a dry office, there are plenty of ways to soothe your sore throat or even prevent it happening in the first place.

The most popular of the medicines to provide temporary relief from a sore throat are over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol and in Spain, many locals prefer a brand of throat tablets called Lizipaina.

However, there are a number of tried and tested home remedies.

There’s nothing to beat an old-fashioned saltwater gargle. Salt acts as a mild antiseptic and also draws water out of mucous membranes in the throat, which helps to clear phlegm. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water (use the warmest you can safely tolerate), gargle and spit out. Repeat every hour if it helps.

For a spicier gargle, add 10-20 drops of Tabasco sauce to a glass of water. Tabasco is made from hot chillies so it works like capsaicin and it also has antiviral properties. Don’t swallow the gargle as it may irritate your stomach.

Alternatively, gargle with a bicarbonate of soda solution, using half a teaspoon of bicarb dissolved in a glass of warm water. It will soothe the inflammation.

According to folk tradition, you can cure a sore throat by taking 3 tablespoons each of honey, lemon juice and red or white vinegar, 3 times a day for 3 days.

You can also chew or suck a zinc lozenge every 3 to 4 hours until your sore throat is gone, but never for longer than 5 days. In one study, people who sucked on a 13mg zinc lozenge every 2 hours got rid of viral sore throats 3 to 4 days sooner than those who didn’t. But too much zinc can actually damage your immune system, which is why you shouldn’t take the lozenges over a long period of time.