Mechanicsburg residents might have escaped the worst of the recent Polar Vortex, but it was still plenty cold. As if snow and Arctic chill weren’t enough, many people suffer from wintertime sore throats in Pennsylvania. If you notice that familiar, unpleasant scratchiness in the back of your throat, there are tips you can try to speed up your recovery.
Symptoms of a Sore Throat
Obviously, the most common symptom of a sore throat is…a feeling of soreness in the throat. This itchy, scratchy sensation is often the first sign of a cold or upper respiratory infection. Other symptoms you might experience include hoarseness, dryness, difficulty swallowing, swollen neck or jaw glands and tonsil inflammation. Most sore throats are of short duration, clearing up after a few days, but when you experience a burning sensation every time you swallow, that can feel like an eternity. The following tips should help you find relief from sore throat symptoms.
- Get lots of rest. A good night’s sleep helps your body recuperate and encourages your immune system to build up the strength to fight off infection. Don’t just rest your body – give your vocal cords a break, as well! Limit the amount of talking you do in order to speed up the healing process.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will keep your throat moist, reducing pain and inflammation. A cup of hot tea might sound soothing, but cold beverages are better for your throat. You can also suck on hard candy, ice cubes, throat lozenges or cough drops to help ease discomfort.
- Gargle with warm salt water. Mechanicsburg isn’t exactly an oceanside town, but you can make your own salt water gargle by dissolving half a teaspoon of table salt in a glass of warm water. Gargle with this solution several times a day in order to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- Use over-the-counter pain medications. Antibiotics only help with a sore throat if it is the result of a bacterial infection. Over-the-counter pain medications such as Ibuprofen and paracetamol should help ease discomfort.
- Avoid environmental irritants. Tobacco smoke and other environmental pollutants can irritate the windpipe, making you cough. This causes additional inflammation and delays the healing process. Refrain from smoking cigarettes when you’re sick and try to avoid other triggers such as dry air and extreme temperature changes.
- Boost your immune system. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet will help keep your immune system strong, allowing it to fight off viruses and infections more effectively. Vitamins C and D provide additional benefit; take supplements if you aren’t getting enough in your regular diet.
- Visit your Mechanicsburg ENT professional. Schedule an appointment with a Mechanicsburg ENT at the first sign of a sore throat to make sure you aren’t suffering from a more serious illness such as strep throat or tonsillitis. Plus, the quicker you seek treatment, the sooner you’ll find relief! If your sore throat persists longer than a week, it’s a good idea to make a follow-up appointment.