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  • Writer's pictureSGFIRSTAID

Feel a sore throat coming on? Follow these self-care tips for faster relief

Typical flu symptoms such as a sore throat, cough or runny nose now require extra vigilance and care

With the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant, it’s important to nip any first signs and symptoms in the bud.

Prior to 2020, having a sore throat or runny nose would not have been cause for alarm. They could have just been symptoms of the flu or common cold, seasonal changes or perhaps overindulging on ‘heaty’ food.

However, given the widespread prevalence of the COVID-19 virus, particularly the highly contagious Omicron variant, it's more important than ever to watch out for the symptoms of a possible infection.

According to the ZOE COVID Study, one of the world’s largest ongoing research on COVID-19, the top five symptoms reported for Omicron infection are sore throat, runny nose, headache, fatigue and sneezing – all of which are similar to the common flu.

In particular, the study found that nearly six out of 10 patients infected with Omicron reported having a sore throat, with symptoms usually presenting within 48 hours of catching the virus.

While there’s no need to worry unnecessarily if you find yourself coming down with a sore throat (or any of the above symptoms), here are some great tips to care for your body so you can bounce back as quickly as possible.

Drink fluids regularly to reduce the risk of dehydration

As a sore throat is one of the symptoms that appear early on, it is important to drink plenty of fluids to soothe your throat.

That includes the recommended six to eight glasses a day, plus more if you are ill. To make drinking plain water more tasty, you can also add fruits such as lemon slices, blueberries, strawberries or cucumbers, or herbs such as mint leaves, basil or rosemary.

Besides water, warm beverages such herbal tea, water with salt or water with honey are easy, natural remedies to ease the condition.

Eat immunity-boosting foods and get enough sleep

Having a strong immune system is essential for good health, and one key factor is your diet.

Include immunity-boosting foods such as fruits and vegetables in your diet. In particular, fruits such as blueberries, acai berries and raspberries are high in antioxidants, while dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale, broccoli and spinach are chock full of vitamins and essential minerals vital to the body.

You can also check out these recipes of nourishing foods to include in your diet.

Consider taking supplements to support the immune system such as turmeric, Ashwagandha (an Indian ginseng), zinc, garlic, Vitamin C and Vitamin D.

Some studies have shown that Vitamin D may help reduce the effects of COVID-19. However, do note that supplements are not meant to replace your regular food intake and, if unsure, it is best to consult your healthcare professional.

Another factor that affects the body’s ability to get ample rest is stress. If possible, take time off work and put aside other commitments to give your mind some rest and relaxation too.

Take over-the-counter medications to alleviate sore throat symptoms

You can also purchase over-the-counter medications to manage your sore throat symptoms. For instance, relieve pain and swelling with lozenges such as the range from Difflam®.

Unlike other lozenges, Difflam lozenges contain benzydamine hydrochloride, an anti-inflammatory ingredient that targets the swollen areas of the throat to reduce pain, redness and swelling. It also contains an anti-bacterial agent to help fight a sore throat infection.

Simply take one lozenge every one to two hours for fast pain relief. Free of sugar, lactose and gluten, Difflam lozenges come in a variety of flavours – including honey and lemon, raspberry, eucalyptus and menthol – to suit your taste.

At the first signs of a sore throat, Difflam Antiseptic Sore Throat Gargle helps to relieve symptoms and kill germs that cause sore throat. It also helps you maintain good oral health.

For body aches, fever and headaches, you can take over-the-counter painkillers to ease the symptoms, or cough medicine to relieve coughing.

If you suspect that you have contracted COVID-19, check the Ministry of Health website for the latest guidelines on what to do.

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