Q: I’m a first-grade teacher working with 23 6-year-olds and guess what? I have a cold … again. I just can’t seem to stay healthy. This is my fourth time being sick this season! Unfortunately, my cold is always accompanied by a nasty sore throat that I can never seem to shake, even after the cold has gone away. Got any home remedies for sore throats that I can try?
A: You’ve come to the right place, my friend. I spent the better part of high school and college losing my voice in color wars, sing-offs, and the like (yes, I was that girl), so I was no stranger to the sore throat. There were times in high school 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 me from losing my voice so often. So I have plenty of experience with a sore throat and have some good tricks to try to help relieve the ache.
Firstly, if your sore throat lasts more than a few days, it’s a good idea to go see your doctor. Often, sore throats can be caused by viruses, but they can also be caused by bacterial infections that need the help of 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.
That being said, there are things you can do at home to relieve the symptoms of a sore throat. They are:
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 (my particular favorite is chamomile), it feels like a miraculous elixir. Adding honey to it helps coat your throat and will give you even more soothing relief.
Eat an ice pop. The cold will help numb and soothe your throat. And you get to eat a Popsicle!
Gargle with apple cider vinegar… Apple cider vinegar is widely believed to help relieve a sore throat because of its antibacterial properties. 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 saltwater. Saltwater can help relieve a sore throat too. It can also help clear your nasal passages when you have a cold. You can buy saline nasal spray sold in stores (like this one) or you can make your own concoction at home.
Remember, though, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: Wash those 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. Easier said than done, right? Especially if you’re a first-grade teacher. The good news is that the more you’re exposed, the more resistance you’ll build up (so I’m told), and hopefully come next winter, maybe you’ll have only one or two colds to deal with instead of four. Feel better!
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