Austinites might have a pleasant winter and a splendid spring, but we pay the piper with a pollen overload that keeps local allergists busy this time of year.

 

On windy days like today, your symptoms might be even worse than usual. Pollen fills the air (and our sinuses and airways) causing stuffiness, drippy noses and sore throats, and if you're looking for ways to make it feel better, here are some ideas, as well as some tips for what you shouldn't be eating or drinking if you do have a sore throat.

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• A tea or tisane made with licorice root is my go-to method for relieving throat pain. I prefer the Throat Comfort line of from Yogi, but many tea brands sell some kind of tea made with licorice and other throat-soothing ingredients such as fennel seed, wild cherry bark, slippery elm bark and ginger.

• A spoonful of sugar might help the medicine go down, but a teaspoon of honey — straight or stirred into tea — will help sooth the irritated skin at the back of your mouth.

• Dr. Gould's Gargle is a homemade sore throat remedy that calls for salt, baking soda and Karo syrup. I'm still not sure the history behind this mixture, but it's been around for a long time.

• Avoid coarse or scratchy foods, such as granola, toast, chips or raw carrots, which can irritate an already irritated throat. Also try to avoid spicy foods and acidic foods, such a tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit and limes, which can also make you feel worse.

• Mashed potatoes, soup are warm, soft foods that feel good to eat when your throat is sore, but sometimes cold foods, such as yogurt, smoothies or a Popsicle feel good, too.

• Hot toddies might make you feel better in the moment (or make you feel laid back and help you fall asleep), but there's not a ton of science that supports whiskey or other booze as a treatment for a sore throat.

• A slightly sore throat is one thing, but if you're having a hard time swallowing and talking or your glands are swollen, go see a doctor.