When you have a cold, in addition to not being able to breathe, collecting mountains of tissues, and feeling like a viral plague incarnate, your throat hurts. A lot! And telling people over and over that your throat hurts, sadly, will not cure it.
The reason why your throat gets achy and fiery is because viruses cause inflammation in your body, says Erich Voigt, MD, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at NYU Langone Medical Center. "Unfortunately, one of the most painful symptoms — aside from the fever and body aches — is a sore throat," Dr. Voigt says. Usually it's your tonsils or the lining of your throat itself (called the pharynx) that get inflamed, which causes the ache, he says. Home remedies are dope, and will definitely help the pain subside, though Dr. Voigt says none of them will fight the actual infection.
An OTC cold medication with a pain reliever might be enough to get rid of your sniffles and cough, but you should see a doctor if you can't swallow or open your mouth widely, or if you feel pain radiating into your ear, or see swelling under your jaw. That could be a sign that an abscess has formed, and you should get thee to a doctor. In the meantime, here are some remedies to ease your sore throat that actually work.
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