Why does gargling with salt water help with a sore throat, but eating chips doesn’t?

We bet you also hate having a sore throat. The painful, scratchy, and burning feeling and mild discomfort it comes along with is certainly irritating. Sore throats are often brought by cold and flu viruses and typically run their course for a few days. However, they can bring discomfort, making it uneasy doing certain tasks. While standard throat lozenges and spray may help, you may be luckier to speed up the healing process by getting a saltwater gargle.

Gargling with salt water is a safe, natural, frugal, and convenient home remedy for sore throat. It only needs two ingredients, salt, and water, takes less time to prepare and easy to do. Moreover, it is entirely safe for those who can gargle easily, usually children six years old and up. So, for the longest time, saltwater gargles have become the standard home treatment for the ailment.

But, what magic does gargling with salt water does in helping cure sore throat? Can you just eat chips instead, given that they are salty?

Well, there is ample scientific evidence that proves saltwater’s medicinal benefits in helping aid sore throat. Saltwater has hypertonic properties, which means it has an osmosis effect that aids in easing pain and swelling. As you gargle with salt water, you ‘drown’ cells, drawing all fluid to the surface along with the viruses and bacteria present in your throat. As you spit the gargle out, you also eliminate harmful germs away. Moreover, saltwater helps in breaking down mucus and providing moisture to relieve irritation.

To make salt water gargles effective, you need to put a liberal amount of salt to the water to get a good ratio. Typically, it would be best if you dissolve a quarter teaspoon of salt in a half cup of water to make use of its osmotic properties. Also, water should be warm as it effectively breaks down the salt. Warm water also boosts the throat’s blood flow, incredibly helping the immune system administer speedy healing.

Another key would be consistency. Gargling only once won’t help your sore throat. Try to make a schedule and adhere to it. Doctors suggest gargling saltwater two to four times daily, based on how severe your sore throat is. You should feel the effect within 24 hours.

Now that we’ve established the benefits of getting saltwater gargles, would the same effect happen when you eat salty food like chips? Truth to be told, salty food won’t have the same benefits due to an array of reasons.

First, salty food doesn’t possess the same kind of salt that saltwater gargles have to make your throat less virus and bacteria-friendly.

Second, it may even help bacteria grow as it has enough sugars and carbs that bacteria love to eat. In turn, it can also worsen the symptoms of your sore throat, making it obviously counter-productive.

Lastly, salty foods tend to have a rough texture that can scrape and irritate your throat. It can be terrible as even microscopic scrapes can serve as incredible hiding spaces for the bacteria to thrive and multiply.

With that, saltwater gargles are your best bet in helping getting rid of your sore throat. Refrain from eating salty food during the course of the ailment as it can provide them refuge to live and give them an ample amount of free food.

More Readings:

Gargling (Wikipedia)

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