Throat of Steel
March 3, 2014 9:11 PM   Subscribe

Whenever I get the slightest bit sick, I always feel it first in my throat. Having an itchy throat where it hurts to swallow is no fun, and this extended winter we've been having has been no help! I treat it with plenty of water, honey lemon ginger tea, and cough drops, of course, but I'm wondering whether there's anything I can do preemptively to keep my throat from being less vulnerable. If you used to have a tender, wimpy throat that now weathers stress and rapid changes in temperature like a champ, I'd love to hear what you changed (be it food, vitamins, habits, or something else entirely)!
posted by estlin to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Cold-Eeze zinc lozenges.
posted by kindall at 9:35 PM on March 3, 2014

I really like Throat Coat tea.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:37 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

At the very slightest sign of a tickle in my throat I gargle warm salt water a couple times a day. I am convinced that this kills off whatever beasties are trying to take a hold back there. YMMV.
posted by ootandaboot at 9:50 PM on March 3, 2014 [5 favorites]

Humidifier! Will really help, both as a preventative and as a soother.

Also, if you feel any tickle or similar symptom, limit your talking. This helps prevent coughing.
posted by amtho at 9:50 PM on March 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by sebastienbailard at 10:07 PM on March 3, 2014

Another thing I did, when I had a bad sore throat a couple of weeks ago?

I stopped talking. Let it rest for two days or so, and just wrote notes out to communicate what I needed, while I remained mute. That's an extreme step, I know - but I could tell that my sore throat was already affecting my voice (it was raw and scratchy at the end of the day, usually), and I felt that the vocal cords really needed a rest.

YMMV, of course.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:32 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lots of water! But my secret weapon is ginger 'tea' - a couple of tablespoons candied ginger (or 3 big slices) cut up teeny tiny, boiling water poured to fill the teacup. Coats your throat and the spicy flavour is a nice change from tea.
posted by variella at 10:33 PM on March 3, 2014

Keep your nose as clear as possible and breathe through it as much as possible. Mouth-breathing seems to aggravate the throat if you do it enough.

My throat remedy of choice is friar's balsam.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:54 PM on March 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Stay well away from eucalyptus throat lozenges. They seem to work as a short term anesthetic and clear out your nose but in the longer term they irritate like hell.
posted by deadwax at 11:49 PM on March 3, 2014

Don't mess around with things like random herbal lozenges with menthol. You know what helps get rid of pain? Anesthetics. You can buy benzocaine lozenges and they are a wonderful gift from modern science.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:26 AM on March 4, 2014

Some suggestions involving vinegar and other ordinary ingredients (1 (see page 4), 2) were brought to MetaFilter's attention in a recent thread; quoting from the links:
  • Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water and gargle every hour or so.
  • If your throat is left raw by a bad cough, or even a speaking or singing engagement, you'll find fast relief by gargling with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt dissolved in a glass of warm water; use several times a day if needed.
  • For sore throats associated with a cold or flu, combine 1/4 cup cider vinegar and 1/4 cup honey and take 1 tablespoon every four hours.
  • To soothe both a cough and a sore throat, mix 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 4 teaspoons honey, and 1 teaspoon hot sauce. Swallow 1 tablespoon four or five times daily, including one before bedtime.
(Regarding the gargling: an alcohol-based mouthwash would presumably have a similar result?)

I have no solid evidence that any of the above work as effective preventive or ameliorative measures but—like ootandaboot's salt-water suggestion above—they may be worth trying.
posted by yz at 5:08 AM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

A shot of organic cider vinegar (I use Bragg's) gargled and then swallowed has helped me when I have a sore throat. However, it is crucial to eat something first, because vinegar on an empty stomach can feel nasty.
posted by miss tea at 5:47 AM on March 4, 2014

A soon as you feel it, start the Cold-Eze regimen until it goes away.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 5:59 AM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Having my tonsils out fixed it entirely for me, if that's an option for you.
posted by goo at 6:20 AM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ultrasonic humidifier next to your bed. Every night during the cold season. If you work from home, put one in your home office too. Has helped us an incredible the degree that we barely lasted a few days when ours broke and we were deciding whether it was worth replacing.
posted by barnone at 6:57 AM on March 4, 2014

I go for maximum dose (6 tablets to start, then 3-4 tablets every 3-4 hours; IOW 4 tablets every 3 hours) of Dr. Shen's Yin Chiao.

(Disclaimer: this is my acupuncturist's brand, although I'd known about Yin Chiao for years before I started seeing him, after a college classmate recommended it. Counter-disclaimer: I haven't seen my acupuncturist in at least… five, maybe six years.)
posted by Lexica at 6:37 PM on March 4, 2014

Decongestant s worked for me. Stuffy nose=postnasal drip and open-mouth breathing= sore throat.

I use Sudafed when an antihistamine or two doesnt do it, but a neti pot is also useful.
posted by nat at 12:41 AM on March 5, 2014

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