A painful, sore and scratchy throat can be a sign that your body is fighting something. Whether that’s a bacterial infection or another round of COVID, it’s important to ensure that you know what to do if you start to experience symptoms like this in winter. Throat infections can lead to chronic complications that can impact your life months into the future. These are our tips on the steps you can take to minimise the potential of a sore and scratchy throat, and to ease the discomfort if it happens.
- Use a gargle. This is a very traditional way of dealing with a sore and scratchy throat - and many people believe it can prevent them too. All you need is lukewarm water with a pinch of salt added and you can gargle with this regularly. It will positively impact blood flow in the pharyngeal area and also help to wash off infection and relieve any symptoms.
- Focus on your respiratory hygiene this winter. A great preventative tip is to become more aware of how respiratory hygiene has the potential to impact your overall health. This could be anything, from regularly washing and sanitising your hands so that you’re not transferring bacteria from other people onto your own body to ensuring that you get plenty of exercise so that your immune system is functioning well.
- Avoid smoking and excessive drinking. At this time of year there can be a lot of pressure to drink, especially in the run up to Christmas. However, both of these will weaken the body and make it more vulnerable to anything that could benefit from a weakened immune system, such as a virus or bacteria. The more you drink and smoke, the more vulnerable your body will be to bacterial infections, climatic changes as well as viruses, including COVID.
- Adjust your diet. If you do start to feel soreness in your throat it can be helpful to switch to a much softer diet so that you can eat without causing yourself further discomfort. Warm foods can be soothing if your throat is painful and are ideal at this time of year when the temperature is getting low. Warm fluids can be especially important, as they will not only help to ease some of the discomfort but also have a key role to play in ensuring you stay hydrated - which is vital if you’re not well.
- Use steam to ease your symptoms. A steam treatment at home will provide relief if you already have a throat infection and you’re struggling with the symptoms. It will open the nasal and throat area, which makes it easier to breathe, especially if you add a medical cough suppressant or natural essential oil into the water before you start to steam.
A sore and scratchy throat this winter could mean anything, from a simple bacterial infection to a virus such as COVID. These are some of the ways that you can start to help yourself minimise the impact this could have on your life this year.
Harley Street is the UK's foremost private medical centre which is dedicated to providing high-quality care for your ear, nose, throat, head & neck, and balance-related disorders. Find out more information on how Harley Street ENT can help you here.