Preventing a sore throat

A sore throat is a very common complaint that we have all experienced at some point in our lives. But in many cases it is preventable.

So what steps can you take to prevent a sore throat?

Smoking and your throat

To start with, stop smoking – if you are a smoker. Smoking is a major risk factor for throat cancer and other throat related problems. Cigarette smoke irritates the throat, causing the larynx to become swollen and inflamed which also affects the quality of your voice.

Try and avoid smoky environments as well. This is easier to do nowadays as a result of the smoking ban; but if you find yourself in this type of environment then reduce the amount of time you spend there.

If you are a singer who performs in clubs then go outside for fresh air whenever you have a break.

Alcohol and your throat

If you enjoy a drink then try and keep this to a sensible limit. It is easy to have a few more drinks than is good for you and if done once in a while is not likely to cause any long term problems.

But drinking to excess on a regular basis will dry and inflame the sensitive tissues of the throat. This increases the risk of a throat infection and if done in conjunction with smoking, increases the risk of cancer.

Consume alcohol in moderation. Try substituting a few alcoholic drinks for soft drinks or water.

Diet and your throat

Eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables as these will give your immune system a boost and reduce the risk of throat infections. Drink plenty of water as well to keep your system hydrated.

Stress and your throat

Chronic stress causes a range of health problems which includes throat infections. If you are under a great deal of pressure, e.g. family commitments then this puts a strain on your health after a time which leads to you becoming ‘run down’. One side effect of this is the propensity to developing colds, flu and sore throats.

Look at ways of reducing your stress levels, for example going for a walk or meditation and try and get enough sleep. Eat healthily and include exercise into your daily routine.

These measures will reduce the risk of a sore throat or an infection.

Hygiene and your throat

If you or someone in your family has a sore throat or a throat infection then try to prevent this from spreading to someone else. Throat infections can be highly contagious so it is important to minimise the risk.

Prevent cross-contamination; do not share plates, cups or other kitchen utensils with someone who has a throat infection and wash your hands every time you handle any of these.

Ensure that household bedding, towels and clothes which are used by someone with a throat infection are washed separately.

We cannot guarantee that this will protect you against every type of throat infection. It is impossible to prevent anyone from developing a sore throat but these measures will reduce the risk.

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