Home Remedies for Sore Throat

Treatment Options

Home Remedies for Sore Throat

Your throat hurts and it feels not just scratchy, but also swollen. It feels like there's a lump in your throat and you find it difficult to swallow. If you or your child is experiencing these symptoms, you probably have a sore throat (also known as pharyngitis).1

A sore throat is commonly caused by either viral infection (such as the flu, common cold, chicken pox, measles, whooping cough, and croup) or bacterial infection (such as strep throat). Other causes can be allergies, irritation, and acid reflux.2

If your sore throat lasts longer than five to seven days, you should see your doctor.2 This article offers information about sore throats and some home remedies that may help ease your symptoms in the short term.

What can home remedies do to help a sore throat?

Home remedies can

  • Prevent a sore throat or tonsillitis with any certainty

Home remedies cannot

  • Help relieve symptoms until the infection goes away
  • Cure sore throat, strep throat, viral infection of the throat or tonsillitis

REMINDER: Home remedies are NEVER a substitute for medical attention.

Which home remedies can help relieve discomfort caused by sore throat?

  • Gargle several times a day with warm salt water. Note: Do not swallow.
    (mix 1/4 teaspoon of table salt with 1/2 cup of warm water)
  • Drink warm or cool liquids (whichever feels more soothing). These can include tea, soup, and rehydration drinks
  • Eat flavored ice pops
  • Nonprescription sore throat sprays
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Use a humidifier in the bedroom to help reduce dry air while sleeping
  • Lozenges or hard candy (children under the age of four shouldn't have these because of risk of choking)
  • Use over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Children should take OTC pain medications designed for infants or children. These include Children's Tylenol®, Infant's FeverAll®, and others.)2,3

REMINDER: If a severe sore throat occurs frequently or lasts longer than five to seven days, make sure you contact your doctor.

When to contact your doctor about sore throat

You should seek medical attention for yourself or your child if the sore throat is severe, lasts longer than five to seven days, and isn't associated with allergy or irritation. Here are some signals and symptoms that will help you determine when to see your doctor:

  • Severe and persistent sore throat
  • Difficulty with breathing and swallowing
  • Earache
  • Fever (exceeding 101°)
  • Lump in neck
  • Rash2

If your doctor's exam reveals your sore throat is caused by a virus, it won't require any medical treatment, and will usually clear up in five to seven days. But, you can help relieve the discomfort of sore throat pain by trying any of the home remedies described above.

If your doctor determines that the sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection (such as strep throat), it's likely you'll receive a prescription for a round of antibiotics. Remember, you should always finish ALL the antibiotics, even if you feel better, unless instructed by your doctor to stop. The home remedies above may help relieve the discomfort caused by sore throat while the antibiotics are fighting the bacterial infection.4

What are some ways to prevent a sore throat?

  • Wash your hands regularly and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water aren't available.
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, and eating utensils
  • Regularly clean items commonly shared with other people such as telephones and television remote controls
  • Avoid smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Avoid inhaling chemical irritants3,4

Disclaimer: The information listed on this site is for informational and educational purposes and is not meant as medical advice. Discuss your condition with your doctor. Every patient's case is unique and each patient should follow his or her doctor's specific instructions.

References:

  1. Mayo Clinic. Sore Throat (Overview). Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/home/ovc-20201937. Accessed May 1, 2017.
  2. American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. Sore Throats (Patient Health Information). Available at: http://www.entnet.org/content/sore-throats. Accessed May 1, 2017.
  3. Mayo Clinic. Sore Throat (Self-management). Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/manage/ptc-20202009. Accessed May 1, 2017
  4. Mayo Clinic. Sore Throat (Treatment). Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/diagnosis-treatment/treatment/txc-20201997. Accessed May 1, 2017
*Not every surgeon is trained to use COBLATION Technology in tonsillectomy procedures.

No matter how statistically safe a procedure has proven to be, every surgery has risks. Post Tonsillectomy Hemorrhage (PTH) is a potentially serious complication that has been reported in literature for both adult and pediatric patients. It is reported to occur following use of COBLATION devices as well as following the use of other surgical devices and methods. Before making any surgical decision, you should speak with your doctor about any potential risks.

COBLATION wands are contraindicated for use in patients with cardiac pacemakers or other electronic device implants.

© 2016 Smith & Nephew ◊ Trademark of Smith & Nephew.