Although sore throats often don’t hang around for long, when you or your child are suffering. it can really get you down. So what can you do about it? Luckily, there are a few things.
What is a sore throat? The inflammation can be caused by either bacterial or viral infections, and it can be pretty painful. Doctors don’t prescribe antibiotics routinely any more. According to the NHS, sore throats are very common and usually nothing to worry about. They will normally get better by themselves within a week and can be self-treated. To reduce the length and lessen the symptoms of a sore throat, they recommend:
- Gargling with warm, salty water (adults only)
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat cool or soft foods
- Use over the counter painkillers such as Paracetamol
- Avoid smoking and smoky places
- Suck an ice lolly or something cool
- Ensure you have lots of rest
BUT, Go to see a GP if your sore throat does not improve after a week, you often get sore throats, or it seems more serious. For example, if your child’s sore throat is accompanied by a sudden high fever, sore red throat with white patches, a headache, chills, loss of appetite and/or swollen lymph nodes in the neck, it could be strep throat.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection which causes pain and inflammation. It is particularly common in kids aged 5-15 years old. Sneezing and coughing can easily spread the infection so it is highly contagious. If you suspect strep throat do contact your doctor as it may need to be treated with antibiotics.
Natural Soothing Tips
As well as this advice, I have a few other tips for easing the uncomfortable symptoms of a sore throat:
- Suck on a lozenge (for older children and adults): they increase the saliva in your mouth so lubricate your throat. Perfect to pop in your bag for when you’re on the go.
- Make a cup of green tea: rich in antioxidants and helps reduce inflammation.
- Have some Jarrah honey (for kids over a year and adults): it has a delicious toffee-like flavour that the kids will love too. Stir a teaspoon into a cup of warm water or just eat it straight out of the pot, it’s that delicious! Check out my recent blog for more details on the specific benefits of Jarrah.
- Try a honey-based throat spray (for adults only): this can provide instant relief for a dry, scratchy throat.
- Chew on some xylitol gum or mints (for older children and adults): Xylitol has been shown to inhibit bacterial growth and coat the throat wall. Peppermint also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties, which can encourage healing. The Peppersmith range are a great natural option to keep to hand.
- Suck on an ice lolly: children can find this really soothing. Other cold foods such as yoghurt can also provide some relief.
- Keep hydrated: as painful as sometimes it can be, it’s super important to keep up with the liquids. Not having enough can make swelling and inflammation worse. A warm chicken broth or herbal tea are really comforting options alongside plenty of water.
Prevention is better than cure
Encourage your little ones to wash their hands well with warm water and soap throughout the day to reduce the likelihood of germs spreading. Also, make sure you all keep your body’s immune systems in tip top shape by eating well, remembering your probiotics, sleeping well and getting lots of fresh air.