For the last few days, I’ve been combating the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life. It’s been so bad that it’s also felt like an ear infection and it’s sapped a lot of my energy, leaving me barely feeling like writing, let alone dealing with a home purchase, work, house chores, and so on. I’m starting to get better, but I still feel rather tired. I’ve been lucky, though; it’s been so bad in my workplace that others have been out for a week or longer with the same exact bug.
For things like this, like a common cold or a sore throat, I generally avoid visiting a doctor and rely on home remedies to get me through. Given my recent adventures, I thought it might be of interest to provide a list of my repertoire of tricks for fighting off colds or sore throats.
Warm water and salt Take some warm tap water, mix in a spoonful of table salt, and stir. Then gargle. Then spit it out. I usually repeat several times. This doesn’t do much to relieve the discomfort immediately, but the warmth feels good on the cheeks and you’ll feel the benefit in an hour or two.
Teas You don’t need expensive ones. In fact, to be honest, I actually like Earl Grey out of cheap packets. I just let it steep for a long time and drink it straight. If you can’t stand that, don’t be afraid to add a bit of honey or sugar to the cup.
Humidity This often works hand in hand with tea, as you can just boil some water on the stove to make the air more humid. You can also run a humidifier if you have one. I usually just boil water for tea and let it boil heavily for a while before pouring it.
Chicken soup It’s so easy to make basic chicken soup if you already have chicken stock. Basically, just dump some chicken stock in a pot and boil some chicken breasts in it. The work involved for me is opening a jar, putting chicken breast meat in a pan, pouring the contents of the jar on top, and turning on a burner and letting it sit. The whole house smells like chicken soup and soon you have a delicious, warm meal that soothes the throat and soul.
Long, hot showers Usually when I’m sick, I can barely muster the energy to do anything at all, but when I make myself take a long, warm shower, I usually emerge feeling much better. The combination of the humidity and the cleanliness almost always gets me feeling better than I did before.
Sleep I drink a strong apertif (this part’s optional) and then force myself to sleep as much as possible. I often wake up feeling as though I’ve been beat up, but then I drink a cup of tea, eat some chicken soup, and take a shower and I feel much, much better.
If all else fails… I rely on two over the counter remedies.
Buckley’s Mixture is perhaps the most foul-tasting substance I’ve ever been exposed to, but if your head is clogged up, a single spoonful of it will immediately begin opening up your nasal passages. I’ve used this stuff time and time again to get my head unplugged during vicious sinus infections.
Fisherman’s Friend is almost as foul-tasting as Buckley’s Mixture, but it is by far the most effective cough drop there is for handling coughs and sore throats. Best of all, it only takes one to do the trick for quite a while, so you won’t gobble through them – I buy maybe one package for every five colds.
Hope these tips help you get through your next cold or sore throat without breaking the bank on prescriptions.