A shout-out for throat care

Bharat Savur | Updated on September 08, 2011

Cheer on: Phenol containing lozenges help soothe a sore throat. - Photo: Raju V.   -  THE HINDU

Get rid of the thorns in your throat with a few lifestyle changes.

Do you wake up often with a chronic sore throat where swallowing feels like sandpapered torture? It could be a cold or the flu setting in, a viral or bacterial infection, or the red, raw result of having hollered at a cricket match. Well, you can't take it lying down… soothe the soreness and remain as active as ever:

Love your lozenges. Remember this rule: if you're ‘a viral case', antibiotics are useless. The simple lozenge containing phenol is more effective. The phenol fights off germs and gives your body time to build resistance, and anesthetises the nerve endings to reduce the scratchiness.

Think zinc. If the soreness has a cold connection, go for becozinc capsules — one a day. You should get instant results. If not, extend for another three days.

Honey is good too for a sore throat. You've got a conference to address and you can't afford to rasp like the Godfather! So, sip hot water liberally laced with honey through the day. Four tips for talking days: Inhale steam — rising from boiling salt-water — through the nose and mouth. Gargle with warm salt water. Chew raw/cooked ginger or peppercorns. Cover your nose and mouth with a cloth-guard to keep the dust out if you commute on a bike.

Don't dry up. If you sleep with your mouth open, the throat dries up and you may begin to cough. Keep a humidifier in your bedroom all night and sleep soundly.

Be ‘nosy'! If you breathe through your mouth because your nose is normally blocked, do this breathing exercise three times a day: Sit comfortably. Close your eyes. Press your index finger gently on the left nostril. Now, inhale and exhale consciously, gently only through your right nostril, five times. Next, press the right nostril and breathe five times only through your left nostril. Correct breathing would keep your throat lubricated for that loud, lusty karaoke session!

Not through thick, only thin. Avoid thick milky tea, coffee, shakes, halwas. These suffocate the throat with their stickiness and irritate its sensitive tissues. Likewise, say no to juices that burn — orange juice, for example. Stick to thin, clear, hot soups and warm honeyed water for hydration.

Ease the pain. If the pain becomes unbearable, have a painkiller — ibuprofen or aspirin. Many people think of a sore throat as a condition that ‘hurts' but don't realise it's as much a ‘pain' as a headache. At such times, a painkiller peps up a drawn, drooping spirit.

Throat-friendly eating. Often, due to ignorance, the throat is subjected to foods that aggravate the soreness. Remember, the throat is tender and must be treated tenderly. Some tips: Avoid citrus fruits. Eat sitafal, papaya, watermelon, stewed apple. Don't overeat. Any acidic reflux boomerangs on the throat. Say no to deep-fried foods. The oil-slick is hell. If the soreness wakes you nights, keep a thermos of hot water that has been boiled with ginger, lemon grass, tulsi leaves and sweetened with honey. Sip a cup before you sleep. Avoid ‘low-fat' farsans from the market. They are often raw on the throat. Many Indian and Western doctors recommend garlic as a natural antibiotic. Try a clove a day. Vitamin C does strengthen tissues to fight germs that cause the soreness. Have a 60 mg tablet daily. Or eat tomatoes, raw cabbage, strawberries. Pulses, when sprouted, increase their Vitamin C content.

Cycle for oxygen. Stationary cycling or walking is great to up your oxygen intake and clear the respiratory airways. This eases the soreness. It also alleviates the restlessness and tension a continuous sore throat can cause, and builds up much-needed stamina.

Relax to heal. A sore throat or any respiratory problem creates more discomfort than you realise. Due to the extra effort put into breathing, there could be tremors in the arms, twitching on the face or eyelids. These involuntary movements drain energy. Thus, physical and mental relaxation is vital. It's important to ensure a happy, easy home-environment with no demands or discontent marring the atmosphere. A life-is-a-beach kind of informal, smiling attitude greatly helps. Periods of silence increase inner peace. Tip: The most relaxed sleeping posture that promotes restfulness is to lie down with head and knee each supported on a pillow and the arms resting comfortably, gently. Before sleeping, tense and relax the arms, shoulders, neck, face, chest, abdomen and slip into a deep restful alpha state.

Be a hygiene hawk. Bacteria clusters on bottles you drink from and on the bristles of your toothbrush. So, scrub the bottle-rims and caps before refilling with fresh water. And the moment you start getting a tickle in the throat, get a new toothbrush. This often prevents the sickness. Buy another toothbrush on recovery to prevent re-infection.

One day you'll discover you haven't had a sore throat for at least two months… rejoice!

Share your feelings; don't store them. Share them with a trustworthy friend. Speak up in the right forum. Unload in a journal. And think positive, think love, think creative. Why gather thorns in the throat when you can gather rose-petals?

The writer is co-author of the book ‘Fitness for Life'.

Published on September 08, 2011

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor