Sore Throat - Warm Salt Water Gargling

October 2, 20090 comments

Sore throats are sore due to inflammation. Usually, the inflammation is due to a viral or bacterial infection (the common cold, and strep throat, are examples of each). However, sore throat may also be related to allergies or physical injury to the throat. In each case, an inflammatory response has been triggered. Pain, swelling and an itchy or irritated sensation are the common symptoms of this inflammatory response.

As part of the inflammatory response, there is an increase in the water content of the involved tissues. With respect to sore throat, a sense of fullness and difficulty swallowing are both related to edema of the tissue lining the throat (mucosa).

If the gargle has a higher salt concentration than your intrinsic salt concentration, it will tend to draw out some of the edema fluid from the mucosa of the throat (Osmosis). This will make your "sore throat" symptoms better. The relief is very real, but also tends to be short-lived, since the gargle has done nothing to remove the cause of the sore throat. It also has effect on killing the bacteria in the same principle.

Make the gargle salty enough (2 tablespoon for 500ml water), and you will dessicate the mucosa and pathogen of the throat by gargling for 2 minutes (3 times/day for 2 days). This could lead to even greater irritation than what you started with!. If symptom persists consult your doctor.

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