The worst thing about catching a winter cold isn’t the fact that you’re constantly dabbing at your streaming nose. Nor is it the sensation of going from hot to cold faster than a forgotten cup of tea.
No, the most irritating symptom of all is a painful sore throat that makes it difficult to swallow, eat or drift off to sleep.
Waking up with a prickly throat can be an indicator that a cold virus has penetrated the immune system.
The reason you begin to feel like you’ve eaten an extra-hot portion of Vindaloo is because viruses cause inflammation in the body, particularly in the tonsils or lining of the throat.
The burning sensation should pass after a couple of days, but in the meantime, there are plenty of ways to help the healing process along.
Here, we’ve found some throat-soothing home remedies to rustle up:
1. Have a teaspoon of honey
Not only is it delicious when drizzled over a steaming bowl of creamy porridge, but honey has long been touted as a natural healing agent in traditional medicine, thanks to its antibacterial properties that can reduce inflammation.
Honey is also a demulcent, which means it coats the throat with a sticky film that eases irritation when you swallow.
2. Gargle with saltwater
It’s probably not the most appealing idea, but swilling salty water in your throat can help to reduce painful swelling of the tissue and kill any unwanted bacteria.
To make the solution, mix a half-teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle for a minute or two, taking care not to swallow.
3. Drink chamomile tea
Not only is it great for soothing an upset stomach, but studies have found that chamomile’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and astringent properties may have a soothing effect when you start to feel the first stirrings of a throat prickle.
It’s also naturally free of caffeine, which means you can drink it just before bed and it won’t disrupt your sleep pattern.
Try stirring some honey into your mug to add an extra healing punch.
4. Squeeze some lemon into hot water
Some people drink hot lemon water in the hope that it may aid weight loss and clear skin, but it could also be the key to shifting your unwanted cold symptoms.
Thanks to their antibacterial, antiviral and immune-boosting powers, these sunshine-coloured citrus fruits create an acidic environment in the throat, making it harder for viruses and bacteria to breed.
Lemons are also high in vitamin C, which some studies have suggested could help to fight colds – so if you’re suffering with the sniffles as well as a sore throat, it can be just the ticket to getting back on the mend.
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