Do You Have a Sore Throat? – Remedies

Being sick is no fun especially if a sore throat is involved. There is pain when swallowing and sometimes you lose your voice due to the inability to produce your regular sounds. It is a pretty miserable feeling and it is difficult to find comfort. Sometimes, you go to the doctor and they don’t even give you antibiotics, perhaps just some bitter tasting cough syrup. Why is this?

Why Didn’t the Doctor Give Me Antibiotics?

To understand why the doctor didn’t prescribe antibiotics, one must first understand how antibiotics work. The purpose of antibiotics is to fight off bacterial-related infections. Antibiotics work by either slowing down, preventing, or killing the growth process of bacteria. When the bacteria die off, the cells in the body are now infection free and can now begin the healing process.

When antibiotics are taken carelessly, it can lead to many issues. There are MANY species of bacteria that exist (probably in the 700’s). There are some that are good for your body and others that make you sick. When you take antibiotics, you are hoping to kill off the bad ones only, but it does NOT work like that. In fact, antibiotics are like a “nuclear bomb” that takes out BOTH the good and bad. BUT, what happens if many of the good are easily killed off, while the bad is left to survive?

Bacteria live by multiplying themselves as much as possible and they compete for foods (from what we eat) with other bacteria. Typically, the good bacteria far outnumber the bad bacteria (otherwise we would be sick all the time) and have greater access to the food.

However, if the good bacteria is killed off by antibiotics, and if the bad ones survive? There is no longer competition and the bad bacteria now has a free buffet pass. They multiply and with a large number, they can potentially cause harm to the body through the toxins they produce.

This is why the doctor did not prescribe antibiotics. It can sometimes do more harm than good.

If Not Bacterial, What is Causing the Infection?

The culprit is most likely due to a virus. You can take all the antibiotics in the world and it won’t do a thing to viruses. Thus, what you need is NOT antibiotics, but rather antivirals.

Antiviral medications work in the same manner as antibiotics except rather than bacteria, they prevent the growth and spread of viruses. So now, why didn’t the doctor prescribe me antiviral medications?

Well, there could be several reasons. One common reason is that the time it takes for one to recover from a viral infection WITH taking antivirals is NOT significantly different from NOT taking antivirals. In other words, whether you take antiviral medications or not, the time it takes to recover is still about the same. It might even be a difference of 1 day or so.

Another reason is that antiviral medications can be quite expensive (and the doctor may know that). I had insurance and went to pick up an antiviral once and my bill came out to be about $80 something still. Was it worth that extra 1 day of faster recovery? Not quite (I refused the medication that day).

So if antibiotics and antivirals aren’t going to help very much, what can one do about this sore throat?

Remedies for Sore Throat

There are many other cost effective ways to treat sore throat. Some can be just as or even more effective than antibiotics or antivirals.

Natural Remedies
  • Honey – an effective wound healer (sore throat, with micro tears), interferes with bacterial and viral growth
  • Gurgling salt water – kills foreign microbes
  • Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice – the acidity also stops microbe growth
  • Garlic – has allicin (known for fighting off infection)
  • Elderberry (liquids, capsules, gummies) – high in antioxidants
  • Vitamin C – helps with boosting immunity
  • Staying hydrated – helps you sweat or urinate the foreign specimen
  • Sleep – the time when body heals the best
Medicated Remedies

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In most retail pharmacies, you can purchase these throat lozenges called Cold Eeze. They are pretty much like medicated cough drops and the active ingredient is zinc gluconate.

Zinc gluconate is known for reducing the common cold duration perhaps by about 30%. They work by interfering with the virus’ ability to multiply. So if they can’t multiply, then it’s like killing them and if no longer there, the body can heal!

Cold Eeze isn’t the best tasting lozenge and it does leave your mouth with a dry, sticky sensation. (Perhaps you can make up for that with the different variety of flavors). This acts like a shield for the injured cells in your throat. The good news is that when you feel better, you won’t have to take it anymore!

         

If you want more of a cooling/numbing effect for your throat, Cepacol is a great option as well. The active ingredient is Benzocaine which is a topical pain reliever (numbing agent). The Menthol in it just produces a cooling effect.

If the pain is unbearable, you can also incorporate pain relievers like Tylenol or anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen.

Summary

Now that you know more about antibiotics and antivirals, you also know why some doctors are hesitant to prescribe them. They may not be as effective in treating our sore throat as we had imagined them to be. If only there was such a thing as a magic pill that can instantly take away all illnesses.

In addition, there are also many natural remedies and even over-the-counter medications (like Cold Eeze or Cepacol). These type of medications can help further reduce your symptoms of sore throat. Additionally, they can be very cost effective! If you find yourself not getting any better in a couple weeks and are worried, you can always consult with your family doctor. Hopefully these methods can help you shorten the duration of sore throat symptoms!

Especially with COVID-19 around (a virus), it is still always good to continue practicing good hygienic habits Be sure to wear a mask, check temperatures, and practice social distancing.

Did you enjoy this article on how to treat sore throat? Please leave a comment below!

18 thoughts on “Do You Have a Sore Throat? – Remedies”

  1. This isn’t the type of thing that I would usually look for but as you say there’s nothing worse than being ill and not being able to do anything about it. There are some interesting remedies that we are able to try. This is very informative for anyone who comes across it and has the ability to help a lot of people as everyone would find different results. Thank you for this!

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  2. Hey Mike. Very interesting article. Winter is coming and there is no single week that someone from my family is sick. Im not big fan of antibiotics and I totally agree with you that there is nothing better then nature (and I always have honey and garlic in home). Yet for more serious infections unfortunately you can avoid some medicines. To be fair I haven’t heard before about Cold Eeze before but it looks like reasonable choice when natural product is not enough. Thank you for your post, definitely I will try it!

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    • Hello Cogito! Thank you for your comment! Hopefully no one in your family gets sick this winter, but in the case that someone does, you now have some more options of remedies to try.

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  3. Getting sick is indeed very burdensome especially for a mother of 2 little boys like me. I get sick very seldom (thank God), maybe once or twice a year and it’s usually during the change of weather (transition period from summer to winter). Having this in mind, I try to consume more raw honey during this time to prevent getting sick. My entire family believes in the natural healing ability of honey (my husband is a beekeeper). We consume it on a daily basis and our 3 year old had only fever twice, so far, and it was because he was teething.

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    • Hello there, Julai! That is good to hear that you seldom get sick, you must have a really healthy style of living! Honey is a very great healing substance and one of my favorites. A fun fact is that honey will never expire no matter how long you keep it. Honey is just such a thick substance that bacteria cannot multiply in it. 

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  4. These are awesome remedies, my mom recently had a really sore throat and it didn’t seem like anything was getting rid of whatever she had but after reading this article I decided to Cold Eeze and that seemed to do the trick! And it was thanks to me running into this article and reading that these were effective. Thank you for this info

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    • Hello Misael! Thanks for doing your part in helping to take care of your mom. I am happy to hear that the Cold Eeze has been effective in relieving her sore throat symptoms.

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  5. First off you site is very nice. I love the layout, logo and colors you picked.  This post couldn’t come a more opportune time with winter here.

    Lots of wonderful remedies here to try and I learned a bit about sore throats also.  I myself almost always loose my voice when I get a sore throat.  The strangest things.  I have used the honey and the salt water.  I say they do seem to help.

    Thanks for a great post.

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    • Hello Coralie! Thank you for the feedback. I am glad to hear that you found the article helpful and have tried some of the remedies.

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  6. Haha thanks for the article my guy! To be completely honest, I actually found this article really helpful. However, it comes a few weeks too late, as I was just pretty sick for two weeks with a sore throat and a nose that wouldn’t stop being annoying. I didn’t take many antibiotics, I kinda just roughed it out with a lot of tea, cough drops, and Vicks. Next time, I’ll make sure to apply these remedies and hopefully I’ll get better sooner. 

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    • Hello there! I am glad you found this article to be helpful! Sorry you had to have gone through the symptoms. Those methods you tried are great as well. Hopefully you now have more tools and ideas to help with the recovery process if you happen to experience sore throat symptoms again (and hopefully you don’t have to experience that again!)

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  7. Defining the difference between Antibiotic related and Antiviral related illness is, I would think some people still have trouble understanding especially when they are sick and want their Dr. to give out a prescription. I have been fortunate enough to work out most sore throat issues with the natural remedy ACV and Lemon juice. I am thinking that the environment one is confronted with in the work place or social arenas will Impact the bacterial or the viral conditions. Do You have any data on the masks we wear now a days, will keep some of the sore throat issues at bay?

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    • Hello there, Doug! You are right about how even after defining the differences between antibiotic and antiviral related illness, it is still a difficult concept to grasp for people. I was hoping that this article can help one to understand the concept just a little more. I avoided as much medical terminology as I could as that can lead to further confusion. 

      ACV and lemon juice are one of the best natural remedies to use. You are also right in that the environment can play a huge factor in whether one will be affected by either a virus or bacteria. Taking that into consideration, it would be difficult to produce any realistic data on how effective masks can be these days to keep sore throat issues at bay especially with so many factors that can interfere with the data (health status, age, gender, environmental conditions, financial status, education, etc.)

      Currently, practically all health care workers wear masks prior to seeing patients and it is standard protocol for them. They are experts in that field and so it would be good for the general public to follow some of that. It’s always good to take safety precautions to protect oneself and those around them.

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  8. I agree with you completely that antibiotics aren’t always the best solution. Sometimes people reach for the drug first without even trying to naturally help themselves and alleviate the symptoms they have. Energy medicine methods are increasingly popular. They need to be investigated and found another new way to preserve health.

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    • Hello there, Jas! Reaching for the antibiotics first without trying other ways first can actually be dangerous. Therefore, they should only be taken as recommended by the doctor and to finish the full course when one is prescribed them.

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  9. Sore throat is such a sensitive subject nowadays during this pandemic. Whenever I feel my throat getting dry now, I immediately drink lots of water and sleep more, which I think are the two best remedies for almost any illness. I’m glad you bring up this subject, and I am keeping your remedies in mind just in case.

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    • Hi there, Clark! Drinking water and sleeping more are definitely some of the best ways to help remedy a sore throat. Hopefully you won’t be getting sore throats any time soon.

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