Nothing can ruin your day more than a sore throat and I definitely speak from experience. I’ve been a veteran, surviving strep throat for 3 years in a row until I finally started tackling my sore throat symptoms the first day I felt the signs of an itch coming. So here they all are: The tried and true tricks and trade secrets that get my seal of approval for getting rid of that pesky sore throat.
Honey Ginger Tea
A traditional Asian remedy go-to for sore throats, I literally lived on this for weeks. I got the best results from boiling freshly grated ginger (bought from the grocery store) for about 10-15 minutes. To amp up the power, you can also add freshly squeezed lemon juice. The staple ingredient though is the honey. It’s the reason why I was able to drink this for weeks on end. Not only is honey a well-known soothing agent for sore throats, it also helps tone down the spiciness of the ginger, which I personally compare to the sensation you get after eating raw wasabi.
My doctor told me to do this. It is not as pleasant as the above remedy, but definitely effective. I gargled saltwater about three times a day when I had strep throat and it really helped to reduce swelling and flush out the nasty mucus clogging up my throat. The remedy is simple: dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water. Honestly, I added a bit of honey to appease my tastebuds, but if you do this make sure you spit after gargling and don’t swallow!
Drink Lots of Fluids
Flushing out your throat is the main goal here. I have heard people say that you can drink juice to cure a sore throat but I found that sugary or sweetened drinks left a kind of sticky feeling in my throat as if the drink was clinging to my mucous and dying it a Minute Maid cherry red—yuck. I always recommend water as the number one fluid to drink, but if not water, then tea was the next on my list. Particularly, honey tea or lemon tea had the best results for me. I also surprisingly found that green tea and black tea were quite effective as well, not to mention these teas contain antioxidants bolstering your immune system.
After fluids, I thought I might add something to munch on into this mix. Chicken soup is such a classic home remedy for common colds- particularly sore throats. Whether homemade or from a can, chicken soup is always on my menu whenever I feel an itch coming in the back of my mouth. I must have lived on this all my sore throat seasons because swallowing anything else with a sore throat can make it feel like you’ve eaten razors, which can put you off eating altogether. Trust me. Chicken soup really is the cure.
By now I think you can tell that these remedies are coming from someone with a bit of a sweet-tooth! Zinc lozenges won’t actually cure your cold, but they will help subdue your pain at least temporarily. They also give a good boost to your immune system. I would not consider this a top notch remedy to fight off a sore throat, but it gets on my list because it was my go-to pain reliever whenever I needed quick relief to get through the last bit of class or work.
Other than these remedies, you have to satisfy the basics of getting over a cold: get lots of rest and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce the pain. The above remedies aren’t the “Holy Grail” to conquering your sore throat, but combined altogether I got better ten times faster the third time I got strep throat. The next year you bet I was prepared for the cold season armed with cupboards stacked with Campbell’s soup and honey. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten strep throat since, so hopefully these remedies will work to get you through this cold season—pun completely intended.