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How to soothe a sore throat

It is that time of year when many of us find ourselves with a sore throat. And, most of us are looking for some way to ease the symptoms, if not cure the sore throat altogether, ideally, without antibiotics. Here’s how to soothe a sore throat.

Britain’s National Health Service recommends taking ibuprofen, along with lots of cool or warm drinks and cool soft foods, and avoiding hot drinks. Tylenol can also help ease the pain. Even if your sore throat makes it difficult to drink, it is really important to keep up your fluid intake! Your throat pain will get worse if you let yourself, and the lining of your throat, get dry.  

The National Health Service further recommends homemade gargling with a mouthwash of salty water and sucking on lozenges and hard candy. Lozenges containing menthol may be helpful. Honey is also good. Put some in your tea! The honey helps to soothe the throat as you swallow. You will want to avoid acidic food and drinks, and spicy dishes; they may be irritating. Also, you should not smoke.

Harvard Health recommends getting plenty of rest, drinking a lot of water, and using a cool mist vaporizer.

When do you need antibiotics for a sore throat? Cochrane, an independent network of researches that uses high-quality information to help you make health decisions, advises that antibiotics are of limited use in treating sore throats. They have unpleasant adverse side effects such as diarrhea and rashes.

Cochrane further reports that some Chinese herbal medicines appear to be effective in curing a sore throat. But, it cannot recommend any specific medicines because no trials of these medicines were designed well enough to provide compelling evidence.

Do not waste your time or money on probiotics or special xylitol-based chewing gum for your sore throat. They are not effective, according to a new report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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