Life Hacks for a Sore Throat

24 May

I was really looking forward to this weekend – it’s like, 30-something celcius with the humidex, and I don’t have to sit at a convention or drive a lot, and I have four consecutive days off, which was something I had gotten used to before this term and my greed kicked in.

So naturally, I woke up yesterday morning with a sore throat. Rather, I woke up in the middle of the night with a sore throat, and my immediate reaction was, “Oh, not strep again.” Because light sleeper as I am, that’s the only thing that’ll wake me.

It doesn’t appear to be strep, but I immediately started hitting it with every trick I know, and now, I won’t say I’m cured, but I’m feeling a lot better. I mentioned marshmellows on FB, and now, I think I’ll extend my knowledge. This is not paramedicine – if your throat is that sore, please, go see a doctor. I’ve gone to work with Strep and nobody likes you for it. There are also numerous reasons you can have a sore throat – if, for example, you suspect you’re in a change of humidity and you’re suddenly breathing very dry air (such as SCBA because you’re in fire school) and you suspect that it’s causing you a nosebleed or an irritated throat, chew gum while you’re on compressed air, and bring enough for the other guys on your team. Life hacks = awesome.


1) Have a Soda

                Baking soda has great uses, and I used it all the time to clean stains when I was a waitress. When I had strep as a service writer, one of the mechanics told me to gargle with coke. This works, because I don’t like the taste of soda water, and the baking soda in your pop of choice essentially is what’ll loosen the bacteria in your throat. The point is to gargle and spit it out, not drink a soda. If you have baking soda, you can hack this by placing a few tablespoons in warm water, and doing the same thing. Be forewarned though – I once dropped baking soda while cooking, inhaled the resulting cloud, and sneezed baking soda for a week. Everyone else thought it was hilarious.

2) Eat a marshmellow

                This isn’t so much for curing it, but making life bearable in the meantime. Something about marshmellows coats the throat and makes it less irritated. You can still cough up mucus, and my only forewarning is that it’s best to starve a bacteria, feed a virus, because bacteria thrives in warm sugary environments, and I’m pretty sure marshmellows and very sugary. But, that doesn’t matter, because we’re going in for the kill.

3) Tea / Ginger

I like using herbs over pills because it makes me seem wise to everybody else. Truth of the matter, is I stumbled on ginger’s wonderful medicinal qualities by accident. I had indigestion after a round of KFC one night at the Swan River station, and I made ginger tea because that’s what I had in my bag and I like tea. My indigestion cleared up right away, and so I researched what medicinal qualities ginger has. Besides curing nausea (that’s why we were given ginger ale when we were little kids with sore stomachs) it’ll fight an infection and be forewarned, it can sting when it’s going down. The hot tea, particularly with lemon, will also help fight an infection in your throat. Be forewarned: ginger can also increase gallstone attacks in people prone to them, and like all herbs, you can OD, but generally speaking you have to have quite a bit to hurt yourself. Having a pot or two of tea a day, or a few ginger ales when you’re sick, you should be fine.


This doesn’t always work for me – in my job, I can’t have alcohol at least 12 hours prior to operating an ambulance. Now, technically, you’re also supposed to gargle and spit with this one too, but my throat has to be incredibly sore for me to spit out an ounce of liquor, on account that it’s way more expensive. My first choice in doing the gargle method is vodka, but I was using whisky yesterday because it’s what I had handy. I’ve never done it with wine or beer, so I can’t comment on their effectiveness. If I want to sip and let it coat my throat, I like to throw ameretto on the rocks. It stings the least and I feel like I’m not wasting anything.

5) Spice

To me, this is more for clearing my sinuses and my nose will start to run if I go and have something with certain curries or peppers. It’s been theorized that some spices have anti bacterial and parasitic properties and that’s why they’re so prominent in various cultures – if you can’t refridgerate your food and you’re sick of salt, you can add spice to keep it from making you sick. Oh, and gargle with salt – that’ll also help. My choices for spices for a sore throat are are cayanne pepper, cumin, and tumeric.


I’m sure there’s more hacks that’ll help you get through a nasty sore throat and get you feeling better. Sometimes it’s best to let your body get sick and heal, and as always, go see a doctor if you’re that sick, have an underlying medical condition that puts you in jeopardy or are very young/very old, but if you want to enjoy your weekend and feel better in a hurry, try some of these for a bit of relief.


2 Responses to “Life Hacks for a Sore Throat”

  1. Zaidiy July 21, 2014 at 5:13 am #

    Lemon tea and ginger are the best

  2. reydiy December 17, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

    Marshmallows? I might try that.

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