Six simple steps to beating a sore throat this winter

A sore throat may be inevitable as the mercury drops, but don’t let that prickly tickle take over your day.

As the cooler weather sweeps in, the rise of sore throat complaints begins.

A sore throat is usually a sign the body is fighting a bacterial or viral infection, such as a cold or the flu.

It can cause a scratchy feeling in your throat, hoarseness and lead to difficulty when swallowing. You may also experience swollen glands, a headache and tiredness.

However, you can ease the symptoms of a sore throat and help your body recover by following a few easy steps.

Choose pain relief

Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen may ease side effects, such as headaches or a fever.

To soothe the throat, some people find sucking on lozenges, boiled sweets or ice reduces the severity of the pain and creates more saliva to ease sore throats.

Stay hydrated to beat that sore throat.Stay hydrated

Ensuring the body stays well hydrated by drinking water and non-alcoholic fluids will help fight the infection.

The side effects of a sore throat, such as headaches and tiredness, can worsen if you become dehydrated.

Since swallowing can be painful if you have a sore throat, warm drinks – such as tea, or honey and lemon with hot water – will be more soothing.

Still not getting any relief?

Gargling with warm, salty water can also provide some reprieve from the itchy feeling in your throat. According to University of Connecticut research, salt water can help break down secretions and soothe the throat if you gargle several times a day.

Get plenty of rest

This isn’t the time to keep pushing on with that busy schedule.

Getting plenty of rest and avoiding arduous physical work or exercise will help the body recover quicker and reduce the severity of symptoms.

A humidifier at home may also help as it will add moisture to the air, and moist air can be less irritating to a sore throat.

Avoid smoking

Smoking or being in the presence of smokers will irritate a sore throat and increase those scratchy feelings.

If you’re a smoker, reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke or quit while you’re suffering from a sore throat.

Seek medical treatment

Usually a sore throat will clear up after a few days, but a trip to the doctor might be necessary if your symptoms are severe or persist after a few days.

In rare cases, a sore throat may be a sign you have a more serious condition.

Seek medical advice immediately if you experience difficulty breathing, if you have a high fever or if your condition rapidly worsens.

Choose your foods wiselyChoose your foods wisely if you have a sore throat.

Abstain from eating foods that cause your throat to become irritated.

The American Dietetic Association says foods such as coarse breads, acidic fruits, including oranges and tomatoes, and spicy food should be avoided if you’re suffering from a sore throat.

Acidic beverages or alcohol can also dry and irritate your mouth and throat.

Instead, soft foods such as yoghurt, soup, smoothies or ice cream will be easier to swallow and lessen the pain when you’re eating.