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How to Treat that Sore Throat at Home!

November 4, 2019


So you have a sore throat that is just killing
you, but you don’t really want to come and see me. I don’t blame you, Nobody loves going to the
doctor. So to help with that, In this video I’m going
to teach YOU, how to treat that sore throat quickly and easily at home. Welcome to Family Med, your medical home for
practical and accurate information to help your family make healthy decisions. If you are new here, let me introduce myself. I’m Doctor Erik Richardson, my passion is
helping you cut through all the health information clutter on the internet and giving you the
knowledge you need to live a healthier life. Today we are going to address a topic that
is one of the most common reasons that I see people in the office. It’s a sore throat and it affects everybody. In fact, there are millions of visits in the
United States each year for this very reason, and in all reality most of those visits are
unnecessary. To learn about when it is most important to
go to the doctor for your sore throat make sure you click right here where I teach you
when you should go to the doctor and when its ok to say home. For the purpose of this video though we are
going to assume that you don’t have any concerning causes of your sore throat and that it is
safe for you to treat it at home. It’s important to remember that the majority
of sore throats are caused by a virus that we just don’t have a cure for. So going to the doctor to get an antibiotic
is not only useless, it also puts all of us in danger of making bacteria resistant to
the medications we have to treat them. So when we talk about approaches to treating
a sore throat there are 3 general categories that we are going to focus on. This is going to be Oral medications, Topical
treatments and what we call Environmental treatments. The great thing about these three areas is
that when we use several of them at the same time they can do well in controlling your
symptoms. So what kind of oral medications are helpful? Well, the most common ones that I recommend
trying at home are ibuprofen and acetaminophen or Tylenol. These tend to be the most effective in helping
control sore throat pain. I have found that following the manufacturers
dosing instructions and using them throughout the course of your illness can really help. Verify with your doctor on whether this is
safe for you but to my patients I’ve found that alternating the appropriate dose of Tylenol
and ibuprofen every 3 hours can really provide a lot of relief. This probably provides the best and most lasting
relief however it can take up to an hour to start to get some relief. That is where the topical therapies help and
should be the next thing you can try. There are a lot of different topical therapies
that can help quite a bit, they tend to be quicker acting but they don’t tend to last
as long that’s why using it with some oral medications can get you some better control
of your pain. These are going to be your throat lozenges
or sprays. When you are looking for a lozenge the most
common active ingredients are menthol, dyclonine, benzocaine, or hexylresorcinol. They all act as local anesthetics to numb
your throat. When looking for sprays, the most common ingredients
that are out there are phenol or benzocaine. These also provide a way to temporarily numb
the throat. These can be most helpful when you need some
relief right away such as right before eating or drinking. Let me pass on a caution though. There is a rare reaction that can happen from
medicines that have benzocaine. It can cause a rare but a serious and even
sometimes fatal reaction called methemoglobinemia. This is a condition where the medicine prevents
oxygen from being utilized properly in the blood. Since we are just using this to treat sore
throat symptoms, I typically recommend avoiding the benzocaine products. So these are the main medications that are
available over the counter that you can use to help control the pain related to a sore
throat. But you don’t have to just rely on medications
to help you get some relief. There are plenty of things you can do naturally
that can provide some relief. For example: I recommend that you get plenty
of Rest. Get lots of sleep and avoid talking. Remember to drink lots of fluids. This will keep your throat moist and prevent
you from becoming dehydrated. Focus on warm or cool foods and drink.Eating
broth or drinking warm water with honey or eating cold treats such as a popsicle can
be quite soothing. Gargle with saltwater. Take 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm
water and gargle for 20-30 seconds. The salt helps shrink the swelling in the
throat and can provide some relief. Get a cool mist humidifier. Dry air can cause a lot of irritation and
keeping it nice and humid will help. Make sure though, that the humidifier blows
cool air and clean it on a regular basis. And Finally avoid irritants like cigarette
smoke that can make it worse. Employing all of these ideas that we talked
about today can make a big difference in helping you get through this miserable illness. As with any condition though its important
to understand that if these symptoms are going on for several days and not improving or getting
worse, or your treatments are not helping then go in and get seen by your doctor to
make sure that there isn’t something more significant going on. If you haven’t seen it already make sure you
click here to learn about when you should go seek care for your sore throat and how
to know if it is more likely to be strep. If you have a cold with your sore throat Click
here to learn about ways that you can treat your cold symptoms at home. So until next time this is FamilyMed with
Dr Richardson. And remember don’t forget to take care of
your body because it’s the only one you have.

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