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Looking after your throat

Looking after your throat

Surviving the Winter Blues and Tackling Sore Throats:

Nothing could be worse than waking up with a throbbing headache and a sore throat, particularly when you have a pile of work to get through, children to take care of and clients to see. If you find that winter with its cold weather, contagious sniffles and long, gloomy nights a disheartening experience, then you are most certainly not alone.

The old adage, prevention is better than cure, certainly holds true – therefore being proactive this winter will not only lift your mood, but will ensure you deal with the dreaded bugs effectively.

In most instances, sore throats are caused by viral infections. Other symptoms that usually accompany a sore throat include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing and coughs as well as mild fever.

If your sore throat is viral, antibiotics won’t be able to assist. Instead gargle with warm salt water or use a antiseptic gargle, throat spray or lozenges.

In most instances, sore throats are not serious and often pass after a couple of days. There are certain home treatments that you can use to relieve a sore throat.

Your immune-boosting supplement tool kit should consist of:

Take these daily during the cold winter months

  • A good general multivitamin and mineral containing 30mg of zinc.
  • Omega 3 providing at least 500mg EPA and DHA.
  • Vitamin C: 1 000 – 2 000 mg.
  • Olive leaf extract – you can drink olive leaf extract tea or place 20 drops of olive leaf extract in a little water.
  • Colostrum: 200mg twice daily.
  • Other excellent immune boosters include Echinacea, Propolis extract and Curcumin capsules.

 Eating the right things this winter for good health:

Choose natural immune-boosting herbs and spices to give you that kick-start to fight flu symptoms before they even start.

Spice up your meals during the cold months by using more garlic, ginger and turmeric as well as cayenne pepper – not only are these spices and herbs powerful antioxidants but they are also excellent digestive aids and brilliant immune boosters.

Handy tips to relieve symptoms of a sore throat:

  • Avoid smoking or environments that are smoky.
  • Sucking lozenges or ice lollies will relieve the soreness of throats.
  • Drink warm liquids or eat cool, soft food.
  • Regular use of a gargle or throat spray or warm salty water and bicarbonate of soda may help reduce swelling or pain.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever.


When you need to see your GP for a sore throat:

  • Should you fall into a risk group - including those with weakened immune systems such as those with HIV or a weakened immune system resulting from the medication?
  • If you have symptoms that persist and don’t improve through self-care it is time to visit your medical professional.
  • If you suffer from a continuously sore throat, swollen glands and fever, and you are between 15 and 25 years of age you could have a glandular fever – a viral infectious disease that can persist for up to six weeks.
  • Visit your emergency rooms if you experience severe pain, have difficulty breathing and swallowing, if your voice becomes inaudible or if you begin to drool, or should you make a high-pitched sound as you breathe.

 Painkillers for sore throats:

Over the counter painkillers such as Paracetamol will assist with sore throats and reduce high fevers.

Never exceed the recommended dosage as prescribed.

Take note that children under the age of sixteen should not take aspirin.

Your doctor will treat your sore throat with antibiotics when:

If your sore throat is bacterial antibiotics may be necessary to clear up the infection as is the case of Streptococcal infections, in this case, other symptoms that may be present are a sore throat, white patches on the tonsils, swollen lymph nodes in the neck area, fever, a runny nose and a cough.

This will also be the case if you are vulnerable and are at risk of contracting a severe infection and if you have a weakened immune system – individuals that have HIV or diabetes are prone to getting severe infections.

If your sore throat is particularly severe or if your throat infection recurs, your medical practitioner will in all probability prescribe antibiotics.

If your child has recurring infections of the tonsils a tonsillectomy may be recommended by your doctor.

In most instances, sore throats don’t lead to complications.

Other causes of sore throats:

  • Alcohol and cigarette smoking.
  • Allergies such as hay fever.
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux diseases also known as GERD – this is when the acid of the stomach leaks out of the stomach into the gullet.

By avoiding acidic and difficult to digest food and seeking treatment for allergies for GERD, plus giving up smoking and drinking less can drastically reduce many of the GERD symptoms.

Get to the bottom of a sore throat this winter, if you have any concerns visit your pharmacy or seek medical advice from your medical practitioner.

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