Prevent that initial sore throat from becoming a more serious

A raw, stinging throat can often be the first sign of a viral upper respiratory infection, such as a cold or flu, laryngitis, or less commonly, a bacterial infection such as strep throat.

In children, swollen and infected tonsils can cause a sore throat; among adults, smoking is a common cause of mild, chronic throat pain. Respiratory viruses and strep organisms spread easily from one person to another, but attention to hygiene and good nutrition helps prevent many episodes.

Nutrition Connection

Prevent that initial sore throat from becoming a more serious condition by following these guidelines:

-Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eat 5 to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, which would provide more than adequate amounts of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and other essential vitamins and minerals. These are instrumental in building immunity. Good sources include lemons and berries.

-Try zinc lozenges. Several studies have demonstrated that zinc lozenges can shorten the duration or severity of a sore throat. A diet that provides adequate zinc strengthens the body’s immune defenses. Good sources include yogurt and other dairy products, oysters and other seafood, lean meat, eggs, and grains. But don’t overdo it; getting more than 40 mg of zinc per day for an extended period of time can weaken your immune system.

-Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Alcohol, which reduces immunity and irritates inflamed mucous membranes, should be avoided until the sore throat clears up. It’s also a good idea to cut down on, or eliminate, caffeine; its diuretic effect increases the loss of body fluids and results in drier membranes and thicker mucus.

-Switch to a liquid diet. Nonalcoholic fluids, whether hot or cold, can alleviate painful swallowing. Some doctors even advise temporarily switching to a liquid diet to maintain nutrition without exacerbating throat pain. Good choices include water, tea, fruit juices, broths and soups, and semiliquid foods such as custards, puddings, and gelatin.


-Sip some lemon tea
Lemons are loaded with vitamin C and can be soothing and beneficial for sore throats when made into a hot drink. Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a cup of boiling water and add a little honey.

-Mix in some honey.
The amber stuff coats the throat and has mild antibacterial properties. Stir 1 to 3 tsp (5 to 15 mL) of honey into 1 cup (237 mL) of warm water and gargle two or three times a day.

Beyond the Diet

Gargle with salt water. Home sore throat remedies abound, and many are useful in alleviating symptoms. The most time-honored favorite is to gargle with salty warm water. You can make an alternative gargle by adding 2 tsp (10 mL) of cider vinegar to ½ cup (118 mL) of warm water.
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