I spent the better part of high school and college losing my voice in color wars, sing-offs and the like, so I'm no stranger to the dreaded sore throat. There were times when I couldn't speak for a whole week. I even went to a speech therapist who used awkward voice exercises to try to teach me how to keep from losing my voice so often. As a result, I have plenty of experience with sore throats and have some good tricks to try to help relieve the ache.
The first thing to remember is that if your sore throat lasts more than a few days, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. Often, sore throats can be caused by viruses, but they can also be caused by bacterial infections that need antibiotics to be cleared. In a case like this, home remedies can help soothe your symptoms, but you'll need medical treatment to be cured entirely.
With that in mind, here are some home remedies to help ease the ache:
Sleep with a cool-mist humidifier in your room. The added moisture will help soothe your dry throat. Just ask Mariah Carey, who sleeps in a room full of humidifiers the night before a concert to prep her vocal cords.
Drink hot tea with honey. This one always works for me. The second you take that first sip of hot tea, it feels like a miraculous elixir. Adding honey helps coat your throat and will give you an extra kick of soothing relief.
Eat an ice pop. The cold will help numb and soothe your throat. And you get to eat something nostalgic!
Gargle with apple cider vinegar... Apple cider vinegar is believed to help relieve a sore throat because of its antibacterial properties, among its many other health benefits. Try 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with half a cup of water, and stay near a sink or garbage can the first time you try it, as it may make you gag (trust me on that one).
… Or gargle with salt water. Salt water can help relieve a sore throat, too. Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water, then gargle. Salt can also help clear your nasal passages when you have a cold. You can buy saline nasal spray in stores or you can make your own concoction at home.
Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Wash your hands for a good 20 seconds with soap and water after a day at work, keep your hands away from your nose and mouth, get plenty of rest and eat a well-balanced diet. If you get into a routine of healthy preventative care, you won't even need these remedies come next winter.