We all know the yucky feeling of waking up with an itchy, raw throat. One of the most common causes is post-nasal drip from seasonal allergies, which affect nearly 80 million Americans each year, according to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. It also might be the result of laryngitis due to voice overuse, per the Mayo Clinic, or simply the common cold. Luckily, no matter the reason for your throat’s distress, there are some easy, at-home solutions to soothe away the pain.
One of the most surprising answers is probably sitting in your fridge right now. All you need is a few drops of hot sauce mixed with warm water, then gargle, rinse, and repeat. It may burn a tiny bit at first, but hot sauce is made from peppers that are high in capsaicin, which fights inflammation and provides pain relief, according to Charlotte Smith, a physician with Penn Medicine.
Smith also recommends the old standby of a steaming mug of tea, but be sure to reach for the right one. She says raspberry, peppermint, and chamomile are best, as they each contain properties for relieving pain and reducing inflammation. And since rest is paramount to bouncing back from any illness, it’s smart to stick with decaffeinated options.
More sore-throat solutions
If you’re looking for something a little stronger than tea, there’s good news: A hot toddy is tailor-made for those days when it hurts to swallow, per Daniel Allan, a family medicine doctor with the Cleveland Clinic. The honey in the beverage coats your throat and reduces irritation, while the dash of whiskey breaks up and thins mucus. And if you add spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger, these will “stimulate saliva production, improving both hydration and mucus flow in your throat,” explains Allan.
Another fast fix you’re sure to love? Scoop up some of your favorite ice cream, recommends Joseph Ladapo, associate professor of medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine (via Good Housekeeping). “Anything that’s frozen — ice itself, Popsicles, frozen yogurt — numbs the tissue and nerves and reduces pain,” says Ladapo.
With these simple, at-home solutions — which take just minutes! — there’s no need to let a sore throat slow you down.
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