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How to Get Rid of a Sore Throat: 10 Simple and Natural Home Remedies

How to Get Rid of a Sore Throat: 10 Simple and Natural Home Remedies

Nobody likes to be sick, but at times it is unavoidable. Whether a sore throat is caused by allergies or a virus, when you experience that pain, all you want is fast relief.

A sore throat can be the first sign of a cold, a side effect of strained vocal cords, or an indication of something more serious like strep throat. While some cases will always require a doctor visit, there are home-remedies you may want to consider first. Here are 10 natural solutions on how to get rid of a sore throat fast.

1. Gargle with Saltwater

While it feels a lot like getting a mouthful of ocean, the salt helps to flush out irritants and bacteria.

To try this:

  • Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of water (ideally warm).
  • Gargle with this mixture 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Spit the water out when you’re finished gargling.

Tip: If the salty taste is too unpleasant, add a very small amount of honey to help sweeten it.

2. Drink Garlic Tea

Garlic is a natural antibiotic. It contains antioxidants that are thought to strengthen immunity and ward off infection.

To make this tea:

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  • Cut some fresh garlic into medium-sized slices and place them in a mug.
  • Fill with boiling water.
  • While the water is still hot, remove the pieces of garlic.
  • Add a bag of your favorite tea to help the taste (and smell).
  • Add some honey or other natural sweetener to aid the taste and make the recipe a bit more drinkable.

Drink this as much and as often as you please.

3. Get a Cinnamon Fix

Cinnamon is another naturally healthy food, as it is high in anti-oxidants. Its sweet aroma also helps to open sinuses. When you have a sore throat, that’s an added bonus as it lessens the production of mucus and drainage and will help you breathe a bit easier.

    Like the previous remedy, you want to make this into a tea as well.

    • Grab 1 or 2 cinnamon sticks ,1 to 1-1/2 cups of boiling water and tea of your choice.
    • Once your water begins to boil, add the cinnamon sticks and let boil for 3 minutes.
    • Remove the sticks and steep your favorite herbal or green tea as recommended by the label.
    • Once it’s cool enough to drink, enjoy.

    More great benefits about cinnamon can be found here: Cinnamon Is A Powerful Spice That Offers Amazing Health Benefits

    4. Enjoy a Bowl of Chicken Soup

    The sodium in the broth may actually have anti-inflammatory properties, and it can feel good going down.

    When you don’t feel well, the last thing you want to do is prepare anything difficult, so soup is a go-to anyway. But it also helps ensure you’re getting nutrients which can be challenging when eating hurts.

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    Vegans and vegetarians, fear not! Any dairy-free soup can be substituted for chicken. A vegetable broth would do the trick too.

    5. Drink Ginger Water

    Ginger is an expectorant, it helps loosen and expel mucus from the respiratory system. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, and fights off bad bacteria. It boosts circulation, increases oxygen flow and flushes out toxins. More benefits about ginger here: 11 Benefits of Ginger That You Didn’t Know About

      • Grab some fresh ginger root (about 2 inches is perfect), some honey, a veggie peeler and cutting board, 3 cups of water and some wax paper.
      • Wash the ginger and peel it.
      • Slice the peeled ginger into small pieces, place on the cutting board and cover with the wax paper.
      • Crush it with a mallet (or any sturdy kitchen utensil-even the flat side of the knife works).
      • Boil the water over medium heat and add the ginger.
      • Let that boil for about 5 minutes.
      • Remove from heat and add honey.

      I like to add lemon to mine as well, but that’s up to you. If you don’t want any ginger in your sips, you can strain before drinking. Just make sure you drink this while it’s still warm.

      6. Invest in a Humidifier

      When your throat hurts, the worst thing you can do is breathe in dry air. Humidifiers fill the air with moisture, making it easier to breathe and less painful for your throat.

      Humidifiers come in a wide range of sizes, and some offer scents like eucalyptus. Here’s a guide on how to choose a good humidifier.

      7. Enjoy Some Apple Cider Vinegar

      It’s not the most delicious remedy, but it is a helpful one. It’s rich in acidity, which is effective at killing bacteria. Now add honey and you’re basically coating your throat with relief. Find out more about apple cider vinegar here: 15 Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar

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      Mix 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 cup of very warm water. Drink up!

      Tip: If the taste is too strong for you, try 2 tablespoons of the vinegar mixed with 1/2 cup warm water and gargle once a day instead.

      8. Hold a Warm Compress to Your Throat

      When you experience back pain, you often reach for a heating pad. So you should not treat your throat differently.

      Try a warm compress such as a small heating pad, a hot water bottle or a warm, damp cloth. Just be careful not to burn yourself.x

      9. Try a Spoonful of Honey

      Honey’s antimicrobial properties can help you heal faster. If you don’t think you’re ready to drink vinegar just yet, this could be a good place to start instead.

      Simply enjoy a spoonful of raw, local honey. It’s as simple as that!

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        Check out more benefits of honey here: What Happens When You Start Drinking Honey Water Every Day

        10. Make Popsicles

        Dairy can worsen a sore throat, so don’t reach for ice cream because the idea of something cold sounds soothing. Instead, opt for a popsicle. Licking a cold popsicle can temporarily ease a sore throat by numbing the pain. Rather than indulging in a sugary, syrupy pop, try this recipe:

        • 1 13.5-oz can coconut milk
        • 1 Tbsp. matcha powder
        • 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey
        • 1 tsp vanilla extract
        • pinch of salt

        Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until smooth. Start with 1/4 cup honey and add more to taste. Pour into pop molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.

        The number of pops this recipe yields depends on the size of your popsicle molds. If you have 4-oz molds, you’ll get 4 pops. Smaller molds yield more.

        Decide What’s Best for Your Body

        While all of the recipes and tips above are worth trying out, you know your body best. Choose what’s best for you from the above natural remedies, but see a doctor if your sore throat lasts more than three days or only seems to get worse.

        Your doctor can look at your throat, discuss your symptoms, and perform tests to help you recover more quickly if you should need antibiotics.

        More by this author

        Jolie Choi

        Gone through a few heartbreaks and lost hundreds of friends but I am still happy with my life.

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        Published on November 14, 2018

        Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

        Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

        With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

        For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

        In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

        Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

        Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

        It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

        For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

        Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

        Symptoms of Fatigue

        Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

        • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
        • mental blocks
        • lack of motivation
        • headache
        • dizziness
        • muscle weakness
        • slowed reflexes and responses
        • impaired decision-making and judgement
        • moodiness, such as irritability
        • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
        • reduced immune system function
        • blurry vision
        • short-term memory problems
        • poor concentration
        • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

        Causes of Fatigue

        The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

        • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
        • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
        • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
        • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

        Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

        Medical Causes of Fatigue

        If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

        Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

        Anemia

        Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

        Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

        There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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        This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

        Diabetes

        Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

        Sleep Apnea

        Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

        Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

        Thyroid disease

        An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

        Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

        • Lack of sleep
        • Too much sleep 
        • Alcohol and drugs 
        • Sleep disturbances 
        • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
        • Poor diet 

        Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

        • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
        • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
        • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
        • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

        Psychological Causes of Fatigue

        Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

        • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
        • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
        • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

        How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

        Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

        1. Tell The Truth

        Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

        To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

        Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

        The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

        One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

        • How you feel
        • What time of day it is
        • What may have contributed to your fatigue
        • How your mind and body reacts

        This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

        2. Reduce Your Commitments

        When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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        If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

        When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

        Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

        3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

        If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

        Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

        If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

        Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

        Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

        4. Express More Gratitude

        Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

        It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

        Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

        5. Focus On Yourself

        Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

        There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

        But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

        We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

        6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

        Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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        Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

        The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

        Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

        7. Take a Power Nap

        When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

        Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

        This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

        8. Take More Exercise

        The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

        Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

        The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

        You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

        9. Get More Quality Sleep

        To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

        Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

        My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

        10. Improve Your Diet

        Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

        Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

        On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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        To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

        Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

        Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

        11. Manage Your Stress Levels

        Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

        When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

        Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

        My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

        12. Get Hydrated

        Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

        Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

        If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

        The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

        The Bottom Line

        These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

        If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

        Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
        [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
        [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
        [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
        [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
        [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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