Happy New Year! How many of you are bringing in the New Year with a dry and irritated throat? My mother is extremely sick with a cold and daughter is suffering from a very bad sore throat. If this sounds all too familiar and you know someone who may be feeling under the weather share these tips put together from Dr. Daniel Hussar, pharmacist and editorial director of Pharmacy Times. The simple and practical advice will help alleviate the symptoms brought on by the cold and flu season.
- Suck On Lozenges & Spray Away The Pain — If your sore throat is caused by a viral infection, antibiotics won’t help it. But nonprescription products such as Chloraseptic Lozenges and Sprays may be beneficial. Phenol in the Chloraseptic Sprays and Benzocaine in the Chloraseptic Lozenges will numb the pain and discomfort. Allow lozenges to dissolve slowly in the mouth.
- Gargle With Saltwater — If your throat hurts when you swallow, gargle with a saltwater solution. Mix 1 teaspoonful of table salt in a full glass of warm water. You can repeat the saltwater gargle in an hour.
- Increase Fluid Intake — Increasing the amount of liquids, such as tea and other fluids will help to hydrate your throat and body.
- 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 for more than several days, contact your physician’s office.
- 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. Be sure to follow dosing/usage instructions carefully to prevent further nasal problems.
- Pain Relievers — If your sore throat pain persists, a nonprescription pain reliever such as Acetaminophen will reduce or eliminate discomfort.
- 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.
- 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 the nose & mouth for 5-10 minutes and repeat several times a day
- Rise to the Occasion — Another cause of sore throats in the morning, which is often forgotten about, is caused by the backup of stomach acid into the throat during the night. The acid can be irritating to the tissues in the throat. You can fix this problem by increasing the tilt of your bed frame so the head is 4-6 inches higher than the foot of your bed. Another deterrent would be to avoid eating or drinking for an hour or two before sleeping.
- Toss Your Toothbrush — If you are currently or have recently 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.
There is also a great new product from Chloraseptic, Warming Spray, which works like their other sprays but has a warming sensation to soothe painful sore throats, it’s like hot tea, but won’t burn you! Sound good?
One thing I think should be included in Dr. Daniel Hussar list of tips above that I believe helps wonderfully to relieve dry nasal passages and a scratchy throat is saline nasal spray. The salt and water solution spray is a natural way to add moisture, lessen the inflammation of mucous membranes, thin mucous, and aide in cleansing your nasal passages of bacteria. I always have a bottle on hand just in case I start feeling the discomfort of cold symptoms coming on. Also, because it is non-medicated the spray may be used in conjunction with other medications to aid in relief and healing without risk of interactions or rebound congestion.
Do you have any tips you would like to share on how to ease the discomfort of cold and flu symptoms? I would love to hear your suggestions!