Scratchy throat? Try these easy, at-home soothers

“These work. The gargle is quick and feels good. Honey and lemon tea are hard to beat.” Bill Chesnut, MD

Cleveland Clinic Newsletter, December 3, 2015
Scratchy throat? Try these easy, at-home soothers.
Whether your throat is scratchy due to dry air or because you’re fighting off a cold, here are four of our favorite things you can do to ease the discomfort:

  1. Gargle with a salt-water solution to reduce inflammation, loosen mucus, and flush out irritants that contribute to a sore throat. To make a salt-water gargle, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and gargle a mouthful of the solution for 30 to 60 seconds, three times a day. Spit it out, don’t swallow it.
  2. Sip honey and lemon tea. Mix one tablespoon of honey with a squeeze of lemon juice and some warm water. Sip away.
  3. Try a neti-pot with a salt water nasal rinse morning and night or, if that fails, try a corticosteroid nasal spray, available over the counter without a prescription. Nasal sprays — both salt water alone, and corticosteroid — reduce postnasal drip, which can contribute to a sore throat.
  4. Run a vaporizer in your bedroom through the night. Breathing either warm or cool mist, especially while you sleep, will reduce swelling in air passages, improve mucus membrane function, and soothe an irritated throat.

If your sore throat lasts for more than a week, or if it’s difficult to swallow, see your doctor to rule out a more serious condition.