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Does gargling with salt and water really relieve sore throat?

Gargling is a common way to cleanse the throat. To do this, you hold water in your mouth, tilt your head back to allow the liquid to rest on your upper throat, and then to blow air out from the lungs causing the liquid to bubble throughout your throat and mouth.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons

You must remember your mother or grandmother asking you to gargle using salt and water when you were young. And, strange as it may sound, this method of cleansing the throat is actually quite effective.

When you gargle using concentrated salt water (usually 1 glass of water and 1 tsp of salt would be sufficient), you create a high concentration of salt in your system that would help draw out the excess liquid from your throat. This would, not only reduce the swelling in your throat (thus, making your throat feel better), it also creates a dehydrated environment that is less hospitable and potentially dangerous for common bacteria.

If you have a sore throat, it is recommended that you gargle with warm salt water as frequently as possible, to help reduce swelling and soreness.

Bear in mind, however, gargling with salt water does not kill bacteria and some bacteria exist in deeper recesses of your throat. If symptoms persist after 3 days, it is best to consult with your doctor.

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