1. Suck on Lozenges and Use Sprays- If it has been determined that you're sore throat is due to a viral infection, antibiotics won't help it. But non-prescription products like Chloraseptic Lozenges and Sprays help numb the pain and discomfort.
2. Gurgle With Saltwater- If your throat hurts when you swallow, gurgle with saltwater. Mix 1 teaspoon of table salt with a full glass of water. Repeat every hour.
3. Increasing Fluid Intake- Increasing the amount of liquids, such as tea and other fluids, will help you hydrate your throat and body.
4. Ask Your Pharmacist/Seek Medical Attention- Discuss your symptoms with your Pharmacist and ask for his/her recommendations. If your sore throat is severe, accompanied by a fever, or lasts more than several days, contact your doctor's office.
5. Open Clogged Nasal Passages-Part of the reason you may end up breathing through your mouth is a stuffy nose. Using an over-the-counter nasal decongestant will help open your nasal passages.
6, Pain Relievers- If your sore throat pain persists, a nonprescription pain reliever such as Acetaminophen will reduce or eliminate discomfort.
7. Humidify the Room- If you awaken to a sore throat, it may have been caused by sleeping with your mouth open. Ordinarily, your nose moistens, air headed for your throat and lungs. Breathing through your mouth bypasses that step, which leaves your throat parched and irritated. Keeping a bedside humidifier in your room can decrease the chances of waking up with a sore throat.
8. Get a Head of Steam-In addition to using a humidifier in your bedroom, it is helpful to inhale steam. This can be done with a hot shower, but be careful not to burn yourself, or by running hot water in your sink and draping a towel over your head while leaning into the steamy basin. Inhale deeply through your nose & mouth for 5-10 minutes and repeat several times a day.
9. Rise to the Occasion- Another cause of sore throats in the morning, which is often forgotten about, is cause by the backup of stomach acid (EW!) into the throat during the night. The acid can be irritating to the tissues of the throat. You can fix this problem by increasing the tilt of your bed frame so that the head is 4-6 inches higher than the foot of your bed. Another deterrent would be to avoid eating or drinking an hour or two before sleeping.
10. Toss Your Toothbrush- If you are currently or recently have been sick, or have had the same toothbrush for a while, replace your toothbrush. Bacteria and other germs collect on the bristles and can invade your body through your gums while brushing. Another good preventive measure is to keep your toothbrush stored elsewhere outside the bacteria-prone bathroom.
Dr. Dan Hussar is a Remington Professor of Pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Pharmacists Association and is a Past President of the Drug Information Association and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association.