Ah, fall. While many of us welcome the cooler weather and changing of the leaves, the seasonal changes also signifies a less welcome guest: illnesses. Friends, family, and colleagues start getting sick around this time, and it’s no fun if you end up sick as well. Sore throats are often part of this, whether they coincide with an illness or not. No one likes waking up with a painful, irritated throat. Here’s what you can do to get rid of a sore throat fast.


So, what causes a sore throat? According to Mayo Clinic, the likely culprits are a viral infection, such as the cold or the flu. Viral infections go away on their own. It could also be strep, which is a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics. If you’ve had a sore throat for a few days, and it’s not getting better, you’ll want to see a doctor, especially if you have intense pain when swallowing. And if you have post-nasal drip due to seasonal allergies or changing weather, that can also inflame the throat.


Luckily, there are a myriad of ways to treat a sore throat, and you don’t have to wait for a doctor’s diagnosis. Having cough drops, such as these on hand, can alleviate symptoms. Numbing drops or sprays are particularly helpful as well. Antihistamines or decongestants can help dry nasal passages. Your favorite pain reliever, such as aspirin or naproxen, can also make life more comfortable. Salt water gargles, while not the most fun with a sore throat, can provide temporary relief as well.

However, my favorite elixir is as follows, and I whip this up whenever I start to feel the slightest scratch in my throat. It definitely helps to quickly get rid of a sore throat, and you are likely to have most of the ingredients on hand.

Brew tea as directed. After steeping, add the juice of ½ a lemon, a shot of bourbon, and honey to mug. Stir, and enjoy.

Now, a hot toddy isn’t just a fun drink, a made-up cure from back in the day, or an excuse to have bourbon (because anytime is good for bourbon). The ingredients are actually very beneficial for sore throats. Honey and lemon both have antibacterial properties and are soothing on the throat. The tea contains licorice and marshmallow root, which are also soothing, and the echinacea may help boost your immune system. The bourbon can help you relax and get some much-needed rest. You can also leave the bourbon out, and still receive most of the same benefits.

Drinking plenty of water will also help with a sore throat, as water can thin the mucus that may be causing irritation. Water can be uncomfortable if your throat is inflamed, so herbal tea is also a good choice for this.