In general, a viral infection usually comes with other symptoms, like muscle aches and fatigue, along with your sore throat, says Chester Griffiths MD, an otolaryngologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. With a bacterial infection, on the other hand, the pain is usually more focused on your throat and the soreness tends to be pretty severe, Dr. Griffiths says. You may also have intense pain when you swallow, along with a high fever.
In her recently released book, Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients into Foods and Remedies That Heal, Registered Herbalist Rosalee De La Forêt has one mission: to teach readers how to transform everyday ingredients into natural remedies. More plainly put, she wants to show you how to heal your body with foods and ingredients you already have in your kitchen cupboard.
Alternatively, make a steam bowl. To do this, fill a large bowl with hot water. Add herbs or essential oils, such as eucalyptus or rosemary, which may also relieve decongestion. Lean over the bowl and place a towel over the head. This traps the steam. Inhale the vapors for 5 minutes. If the steam feels hot on the skin, discontinue until the skin cools down.
If part of the reason you’re breathing through your mouth is because your nose is clogged, use an over-the-counter medicated decongestant nasal spray or drops to open up airways, such as Afrin or Vicks. “Nasal decongestants work well at eliminating congestion in your nose and drying mucus out,” Dr. Abramowitz says. “This can help you feel better and also decrease postnasal drip.”
If you suffer from anxiety, it could pay off to try meditation before you start popping pills–here’s how. Chronic stress has been linked to people with increased risk of Heart Disease, weight gain, sleep problems, and memory and concentration impairment. In studies, daily meditation has also been proven to help manage the symptoms of anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, depression, heart disease, and cancer. Translation: Meditation actually works, so you should try it.
Bathe in your breakfast. Although oatmeal is a centuries-old skin soother, researchers only recently recognized the avenanthramides in oats as the key compounds that calm inflamed, itchy skin. Put whole oats in a clean, dry sock. Seal the open end with a rubber band, and then drop the sock into a warm or hot bath. Soak yourself for 15 to 20 minutes. (Winterize your skin care routine with our best cold-weather tips.)
Before bedtime, eat a handful of cherries (or drink tart cherry juice), which scientists discovered are jam-packed with melatonin, the same hormone created by your body to regulate sleep patterns. Then steep yourself in a hot bath to relax your muscles and your mind. In bed, rest your head on a lavender-filled pillow—the fragrance induces sleepiness. (Bonus: Cherries can help prevent gout attacks.)
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.