Sore Throat
December 1, 2004 5:15 AM   Subscribe

Sore throat. Uh-oh. My throat started getting sore yesterday around 3. Professionally, I need to be able to speak for the next three days (as I'm instructing a class all day long.) I already drink *tons* of water when I speak. What other things can I do?
posted by filmgeek to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Vitamin C. Like, overdose on tablets.
Eat a whole lemon (sans peel, of course).
Sleep more than usual.
posted by notsnot at 5:29 AM on December 1, 2004

Hot tea with lemon and gargling with salt water.
posted by JoanArkham at 5:35 AM on December 1, 2004

I find Cold-Eeze works better than other throat drops.
posted by icontemplate at 6:05 AM on December 1, 2004

Don't over dose on the vitamin C as that can be bad for you. More than the daily allotment is fine, but like 10X is bad. Also take zinc lossenges as they will help prevent you from getting sick from the soar throat.
posted by thebwit at 6:07 AM on December 1, 2004

As much as I love Linus Pauling, his contribution to the persistent myth of Vitamin C as a cold-stopper must end here. Take some, by all means, as either a placebo or for general well-being, but notsnot's suggestion of overdosing will probably just give you diarrhea.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:35 AM on December 1, 2004

Gargle with warm salt water. If the sore throat is due to bacteria and not just from sinus drainage, the salt should do well to dehydrate the bacteria and kill them.

This is the secret of chicken soup.
posted by Plinko at 6:47 AM on December 1, 2004 [1 favorite]

Great recipe for ginger tea to soothe the throat: slice up half a hand of fresh ginger (peel and all) lengthwise, and place in a teapot. Add half a lemon, juice and all. Pour boiling water into teapot and allow to steep for a few minutes. Add honey to taste and a dash of cayenne pepper. (You can alter all the quantities to taste, actually.)
posted by thirdparty at 6:50 AM on December 1, 2004

I just got over this last week, and after 3 days of a sore throat, I lost my voice for 3 days. Completely gone, not even a squeak. The best advice is to save your voice as much as possible in the down times when you're not teaching. Don't talk on the phone, don't sing, just keep silent. Only speak when absolutely necessary. This will preserve whatever trace of a voice you have. Also, i found that tea with honey was my savior. Now, get to shutting up!
posted by naxosaxur at 7:47 AM on December 1, 2004

Best answer: For something to supplement thirdparty's excellent recipe I recommend traditional medicinals "Throat Coat." I have survived many bad colds thanks to this tea. It can be found at Trader Joe's and most health groceries, as well as some more progressive regular supermarkets. I recommend Trader Joe's if you have one nearby as it's 1/2 the price you'll find elsewhere.
posted by tinamonster at 7:49 AM on December 1, 2004

I just use honey and lemon without the ginger and cayenne, though that sounds interesting. Hot hot hot water.
I've also found zinc to be helpful - my doctor told me it's better than echinacea because one's body builds up an immunity to echinacea if it's taken every day, but not to zinc, so taking zinc daily is a good preventive measure. Taking it when I start feeling sick seems to make me feel better too.

On preview: tinamonster's right about Throat Coat. Also Gypsy Cold Care tea.
posted by librarina at 7:52 AM on December 1, 2004

The worst thing you can do is to change the way you project to try to get around the problem. In particular, avoid that forced whisper thing people tend to go for when they lose their voice - it can really be quite bad for your larynx.

Last time I had problems, I found inhaling Olbas Oil vapour did a good job.
posted by monkey closet at 8:10 AM on December 1, 2004

Taking echinacea pills usually worsens the problem for me--my cold sticks around for longer, although it might be milder in the beginning. Also, I can't stand the taste, especially with those slow-dissolving ones.

Taking zinc pills, however, seems to make colds go away faster, or even not show up at all (if I start taking them when my throat first itches).

Of course, YMMV--my experience is hardly a scientific inquiry. I just hate colds enough to take anything that offers any hope.
posted by equipoise at 8:40 AM on December 1, 2004

I knew a guy who used to work in radio. When his throat hurt and he needed a temporary fix, he'd go to the store and buy a bottle of Cepacol. He'd take 2 shots of it before speaking.

It's gross, and I'm sure it can't be terribly good for you; but it does seem to help things for an hour or two.
posted by icey at 9:06 AM on December 1, 2004

Best answer: Zicam -- it's one of those zinc-based things you apply to your nose, and it does seem to speed the course of colds. In October, when I had to speak a conference and found myself with a terrible cold/sore throat/cough, I discovered Zicam also makes a throat-spray (think Chloraseptic, but with homeopathic goodness). That really helped -- it lessened the throat pain and also curbed the cough.
posted by mothershock at 9:48 AM on December 1, 2004

Set up a speech synthesizer and start your talk with a good Stephen Hawking phrase like, "The universe is a big, big place..."

I second Throat Coat.
posted by plinth at 10:05 AM on December 1, 2004

I seem to recall from an anatomy and physiology class I took a few years ago that excess vitamin B and C will be excreted in one's urine with no ill effects. On the other hand, overdoing vitamins A, D, E and K can cause possible liver damage. It's one of the few things I do remember learning in that class.
posted by chiababe at 10:38 AM on December 1, 2004

Gargle with warm water and salt. As warm as you can stand the water, and as much salt as you can stand. It will make your throat feel horrible at first, but do it now, and it will be much better tomorrow.

I have heard that some TV/radio people, when threatened with laryngitis, will gargle hydrogen peroxide. I tried this once and it did seem to help, but the resulting foaming at the mouth was a bit off-putting, so now I stick to hot salty water. DO NOT SWALLOW.

I have a friend whose family remedy for sore throats is a tablespoon of honey mixed with a tablespoon of single malt scotch.

Other than that, drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest, etc.
posted by ambrosia at 10:56 AM on December 1, 2004

Mint or chamomile tea with honey. Vitamin C won't do you much good if you're already sick.

I've heard singers swear by snorting small amounts of salt water. It does good for cleaning out the throat/nasal passage but also burns like hell and is a generally unpleasant experience.
posted by honeydew at 11:07 AM on December 1, 2004

I second Zicam. My wife and I started using it last winter whenever we felt a cold coming on, and have been cold-free for a year.
posted by kickerofelves at 2:49 PM on December 1, 2004

I think what you want is Slippery Elm -- a herb that is the basis for Throat Coat and other similar herbal preparations. Fishermans's Friend throat lozenges makes a version containing this I believe, which has helped me in the past. If you can get your hands on the raw stuff, you can probably do better by making a preparation yourself.
posted by daver at 3:21 PM on December 1, 2004

I'll also say gargle salt water... It's filthy tasting, but it really works. If it's quite sore already, add a soluble aspirin to the garglestuff.
posted by pompomtom at 7:30 PM on December 1, 2004

Don't use Zicam. It may destroy your sense of smell.
posted by NortonDC at 7:45 PM on December 1, 2004

There was a study that suggested that Vit C and Zinc taken in the first 24 hours of coryza-like symptoms shortened the overall course. A separate study showed a similar benefit to echinacea tincture.

Another vote for Throat Coat, NSAIDs, and Chloraseptic, too.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:25 PM on December 6, 2004 [1 favorite]

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