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How to Cure a Sore Throat Fast

by Donna Schwontkowski
woman struggling with how to cure a sore throat

Sore throats can be very aggravating. They make our voice hoarse, make eating difficult, and can disrupt our sleep. The best remedy is allowing the throat time to heal, but sometimes we want a faster solution. This article covers how to cure a sore throat – quickly.

What Causes a Sore Throat?

A sore throat is caused by a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection. The throat is sore because the infectious agent has invaded the cells in that area and causes inflammation and disease there.

A sore throat may feel like there’s an irritation in the throat. It is usually accompanied by pain and there may be scratchiness. When the throat is sore, the tonsils may be swollen or red and there is often difficulty swallowing. A sore throat also makes it difficult to talk and may muffle your voice or make it hoarse. Either way, you’ll want to stop talking as much as you usually do, and text more often.

Because a sore throat may be caused by many things, it’s good to notice whether or not you have other signs and symptoms along with it.

The list of those signs and symptoms includes:

  • Fever – Usually means there’s a bacterial or viral infection. Generally speaking, a bacterial infection causes a higher fever than a viral infection. However, there are exceptions.
  • Cough – What comes up when you cough is always something your doctor will ask you about. If you cough but nothing comes up, that’s called a dry cough. If you cough up phlegm, note the color of it and the amount.
  • Body aches – The common cold is usually accompanied by body aches.
  • Headache – Congestion in the head from a cold and sore throat are common.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting – These indicate the infection may be a virus, strep throat (a bacterial infection), tonsilitis (inflamed tonsils), an infection in the GI tract, food poisoning with vomiting, GERD/reflux, or alcohol abuse.

The most important things to know about a sore throat is when to see the doctor. Most sore throats will go away on their own but if they still persist after 10-14 days, it’s always a good idea to schedule a doctor visit and have him run some tests to see what’s really going on.

Here’s a list of times when you absolutely should make that phone call to the doctor:

  1. When it’s difficult for you to swallow
  2. When it’s difficult for you to breathe
  3. Pain in the joint(s)
  4. Earache
  5. A lump in your neck
  6. Fever is higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
  7. Rash – may indicate Lyme disease
  8. Your phlegm has blood in it
  9. Your hoarseness isn’t going away
  10. You also have face or neck swelling

5 All-Purpose Natural Remedies

Assuming your sore throat is something you can treat yourself at home, you can do a few different things to cut down on the pain you are feeling in your throat.

  1. Gargle with Saltwater
    Mixing only one-half teaspoon salt (or baking soda) in 8 oz water and gargling with it every three hours will draw out any swelling from the tissues in the throat. Since one of the main reasons for pain is swelling, this works out well.
  1. Honey in Hot Tea with Lemon
    Local honey – not honey that is doctored up with high fructose corn syrup or sucrose – has antibacterial activity against several different types of bacteria. Adding a teaspoon to a cup of hot herb tea such as lemongrass, echinacea, green tea, or elderberry will give you double potency. For triple potency, add the juice of ½ lemon, which is high in vitamin C.
  1. Charcoal Tablets
    Charcoal is one of my favorite all-purpose natural remedies because it acts in a broad spectrum way, meaning it doesn’t care what it’s working against – if some microbe isn’t supposed to be in your throat, it will go after it. Taking two capsules from a bottle of activated charcoal from the drugstore and downing it with a large glass of water is enough to get the process started.

    A few precautions include: 1) keep hydrated as charcoal acts as a natural sponge to draw toxins and microbes to itself. If you aren’t hydrated starting out, this isn’t the remedy for you. 2) The best time to take charcoal is at night before bed away from any meals or vitamins and minerals, and in the morning first thing before anything goes in your mouth. Keep at least an hour in between charcoal and anything else. Two doses a day are enough for most people and continuing it for at least three days – especially when started early in the process – is plenty of time to beat a sore throat.
  1. Change Your Toothbrush
    This is a remedy because what goes into your mouth can contaminate the tissues. So if you already have a sore throat and it’s due to an infection, then you should consider that your toothbrush is already contaminated. And since there are not many excellent proven ways to sanitize a toothbrush, start over with a fresh new one. At the end of your sore throat, replace it once again.
  1. Hot Sauce in Water
    Hot sauce’s active ingredient is capsaicin which comes from cayenne pepper. It’s been proven in studies to reduce pain by interfering with substance P that is related to causing pain. As little as ¼ teaspoon of hot sauce in water or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper in water, which is then gargled will stop the pain pretty quickly. It will also wake you up!
cold treatments

5 Alternative Remedies

  1. Salt Spa Treatment
    This might be a new idea for you but in the last 8 to 10 years, salt caves have been sprouting up in different cities and towns in the U.S. and making a big difference in people’s sore throats and lung health.

    A salt cave may simply be a room dedicated to utilizing a device that puts out salt ions into the air at a higher concentration than normal. It mimics the old salt caves where salt was actually mined, such as in Russia, Poland, and the Middle East. Doctors in the1800s noted that the miners never got colds or sore throats.

    They also didn’t have lung infections such as pneumonia. So they decided to set up rooms in the salt caves for patients to come and stay and breathe in the salty air. Patients with all types of lung disorders and infections showed up and the salt prevented the nasty microbes from harming their lungs and mucosal membranes of the throat.

    Of course, your local health insurance provider won’t tell you about this  natural remedy. But seriously, at the first sign of a cold or sore throat or coughing incident, make an appointment at your local salt cave.

    Appointments are usually for about 30 minutes and all you do is lie on a bed or in a reclining chair and breathe in the salty atmosphere. It’s like being at the beach and you leave more relaxed than you have been for weeks. One or two sessions might be enough to nip your throat infection in the bud.
  1. Hot Sauna Session
    If you have the energy to go to the sauna, do it. The sauna raises your internal body temperature a degree or two which is enough to kill off most foreign invaders. Along with the rise in body temperature there is the production of heat shock proteins that assist your immune system as well.

    Remember to drink 3 cups water before the sauna session, 2-3 cups during the session (usually 10-20 minutes), and another 3 cups after the session.

    The easiest type of sauna session to do is the infrared sauna as the temperature of your body rises fast and you don’t have to sit there for hours. A 15-minute session when the sauna temperature gets to 60 degrees Celsius even works well for those who are elderly and considered frail.
  1. Probiotics Full Strength
    Renew Life makes some incredibly potent probiotics. I’ve used them for infections in my patients over the years. I prefer the 150 billion cfu bottle in their line and only require 1 capsule in the morning and one at night when someone is in the midst of a bad sore throat or infection.

    Infections take hold in the body when the probiotic population is not correct. Thus, getting them right means getting a lot of the right strains in a high enough dosage. The usual over-the-counter probiotics that claim 1 billion cfu or 10 billion cfu and less than 5 strains are laughable. The ones that work have 150 billion cfu and 40 different strains, such a big difference in potency!
  1. Streptococcus Sore Throat
    Strep throat is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes or group A streptococcus. It’s contagious and the droplets in the air from someone who is infected that coughs or sneezes is how it’s spread. Also sharing utensils and cups can pass the bacteria along to you.

    Vitamin A deficiency is usually at the root of a Strep throat infection. It causes a dysregulation of the immune response and the body can’t fight against the strep infection. Taking 10,000 IU vitamin A once daily along with a little fat since this vitamin is fat soluble can make a big difference in strep throat. However, one thing to consider is that if your vitamin A is low, what other nutrients are low as well? Seeing a nutritionist can best help you pinpoint the root cause so you don’t get sick again.
  1. Vitamin D
    Vitamin D is another fat-soluble vitamin that affects immunity. When vitamin D levels are low – less than 30 on the blood test – the immune system can’t kick into gear and beat what you have fast. When your level is in the 60s on that blood test, your immune system destroys foreign invaders within about an hour and a half. See why it’s so important to consider your nutrition?

    A sore throat due to an infection is telling you your immunity is low. Getting tested annually for vitamin D is something every person should have done, especially before winter season if you want to be infection free all winter.

    In the meantime, taking 5,000 IU per day and even up to 10,000 IU can help you get over the sore throat caused by infection but you’ll need to continue it for at least three months if you are deficient. Working with a nutritionist or your GP is important to get this level right.

Remedies for Specific Circumstances

How to Cure a Sore Throat After Drinking Alcohol

Although alcohol might seem like a good way to socialize, unfortunately it is a toxin and will take down your immunity even with one binging episode. That’s probably because your immunity was low in the first place – see all the above information.

But if you have a night out with friends and feel a sore throat, head on over to the salt cave or start the salt water gargling. You’ll get more of a complete body response from the salt cave and even feel relaxed as well.

How to Cure a Sore Throat After Kissing

Personal hygiene after kissing is especially important. Whatever your partner is harboring in his nose, mouth and throat gets passed to you during kissing. And by the way, that includes any bacteria that causes gum disease.

You must make sure to use a gargle / mouthwash after kissing. Then take your partner and head on over to the salt cave for a couples session where you both relax together.

How to Cure a Sore Throat from COVID

COVID-19 text with medical equipments

All the above remedies can make a big difference when someone has COVID. Think about it. COVID is an infection caused by a microbe (virus). It lodges in the throat, nose, and mouth. So what’s going to be the best way to eliminate the COVID virus residency?

If you guessed salt cave, you guessed right. But now there are devices you can have at home that add salt ions to your own home environment (just in case they don’t allow you to go to the salt cave due to government regulations). It’s a good idea to have one of these devices on hand in these times. And no, salt lamps won’t do the trick.

Otherwise, consider your vitamin A levels as vitamin A strengthens all mucosal membranes. And Vitamin D, which already there have been studies showing that those who get COVID never have high levels of vitamin D.

From all the info here, you can come up with your own Cure Covid sore throat plan.

But do consider one more thing. I recall one nursing home study that had their residents clean out their nose (where COVID lives) with a Q-tip dipped in hydrogen peroxide daily. This worked well and their rate of covid was close to if not at zero.

How to Cure a Sore Throat from Vaping

Vaping dehydrates the tissues in the throat leaving them susceptible to infection. The best way to rehydrate them again is to get yourself a large stable bowl that won’t topple over such as a ceramic or glass dish or even a big soup pot. Bring water in a kettle almost to boiling. Pour water into the bowl about 2/3 full.

Add a few drops of essential oil of either eucalyptus, peppermint, ginger, or lavender. Next get a towel and make yourself a little tent that fits in your head over the bowl about six inches and the bowl itself. Breathe in the steam from this hot steam session for 3 to 4 minutes. Then you’ll see that your throat, nose and mouth tissues have all been well hydrated.

How to Cure a Sore Throat While Pregnant

Any of the above methods may be used for pregnant moms but there is a precaution. In the early trimesters taking a lot of vitamin A is contraindicated. No one has ever done a study showing that a pregnant mom who is deficient in vitamin A can take more so not knowing the answer means not taking a risk.

Pregnant moms can go to salt caves, gargle with salt, get their vitamin D status back to normal, use a steam bath, but cannot and should not go to an infrared or other type of sauna. Probiotics and charcoal tablets may also be used during pregnancy. Thus there are plenty of options for pregnant moms that are safe.

Tips on How to Prevent a Sore Throat

Here are a few tips to prevent a sore throat from happening, especially when everyone around you is coming down with a cold or flu:

  1. Make sure your vitamin D levels are good
    A blood test can be taken that gives you results within a week. If your levels are in the 60s (60-65 ng/ml), your status is excellent. Work with a nutritionist to get your levels right. Natural healing professionals recommend a higher vitamin D level than medical professionals who seem to be content with anything over 30 ng/ml.
  1. Did you consider your polyphenols and plant chemicals as a line of protection? Carotenoids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and other plant chemicals found in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and herbs offer protection against many infections and sore throats. There’s no excuse any more for not consuming a quart of salad containing 5 different vegetables in it when all the superstores give you one to two-pound bags of spinach, lettuce, arugula, and other greens on their shelves. Making salads is as simple as opening the bags and mixing them together after washing the greens.

    Likewise, adding 1 teaspoon of a green powder and another teaspoon of a red powder (from red fruits and vegetables) goes a long way to give you the protective plant polyphenols.
  1. Keep your sanitation and hygiene up to par
    Taking your shower daily, brushing your teeth and gargling daily, changing your underwear daily, changing your bed linens weekly, using clean towels in the bathroom, and vacuuming your house for dust every 1 to 2 days as well as your car – all these things are cleaning and hygiene habits. You can find more complete lists of them online.

    One thing not considered by most people is throwing the sponge you use at the kitchen sink into the dishwasher to be sanitized along with the dirty dishes. Otherwise, you end up spreading the contamination from the sponge to all your countertops in the kitchen.
  1. Making sure your protein intake stays high
    As we all age, our requirement for protein gets higher, not lower. This next statement may anger a lot of vegetarians and vegans but not getting enough protein in your diet puts you at risk for not only infections but also mental illness. I have yet to meet a strongly grounded and mentally sound vegetarian!

I wish things were different but my life experiences have shown me that putting the elderly on a vegetarian diet is the absolute wrong thing to do. Recently I’ve been working with a patient who is in her 60s and has been vegetarian for over 20 years and turned vegan, only eating raw foods for the last few years. She is one of the unhealthiest patients I’ve ever had. And she looks 10 years older than she really is.

When I ran an amino acid profile, her average levels of amino acids were only 7% into the normal range. This clearly explains why her heart, lungs, hormones, immune system, nervous system, and detoxification systems broke down. Literally she has been on the brink of death for the last six weeks.

And through it all, she wouldn’t admit that her diet had anything to do with it until I explained that bedsores were the result of insufficient protein. She kept telling me that eating a clean diet was what had saved her up till now. What she didn’t realize was that she really wasn’t “clean” like she thought she was. All the metabolic wastes creating an inability to process ammonia in her diet left her a toxic waste dump in all her organs, especially her liver and kidneys. All lack of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids as well as fats left her mind and moods unbalanced and her electrolytes low.

senior woman having sore throat

It will take months for her to recoup and regenerate and she is at the mercy of any little infection that comes along the way until these levels of protein, fat, carbohydrates in the diet, and vitamins and minerals rise.

Raw food proponents will try to convince you that you should be staying away from meat, chicken, fish, dairy foods, and eggs and they don’t consider that as someone gets diagnosed with more and more illnesses, they need more nutrition not less. These high density foods have a lot more food values and calories than plant foods.

Plus as we age, collagenase enzymes destroy skin and collagen in our body faster than we can build it unless we are taking in high quality proteins, and I don’t mean plants or insects or ‘beyond beef’ fake protein alternatives. I’m also not including supplements that promise complete proteins from pea protein, which never was a high quality protein to start from.

Your body needs the macros – protein, fat and carbs for the best health. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t incorporate plant foods and plenty of them in your diet. You can easily add a 1 to 2-quart salad into your diet four or five meals a week. That gives you anywhere from 24 to 32 servings of vegetables per week. You can easily add an apple, pear, and a pomegranate or peach daily for another 21 servings per week.

You can add a cup of string beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or okra to three meals a week and a half cup beans three more times a week, giving you another 6 to 7 servings vegetables. So far, you have consumed over 7 servings of plant foods daily for the week, better than most vegetarians. This is the makings of the start of a healthy diet but it still needs protein and essential fats and calories.

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