Any home remedies for strep throat -
How a Sore Throat Is Treated
A sore throat can be uncomfortable and often signals an oncoming cold. While home remedies may help with some types of sore throat, it's important to note that medical treatment may be needed. A sore throat due to strep throat, for example, usually requires antibiotic treatment in order to prevent serious complications.
Self-treating a health condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. Certain conditions and symptoms (such as difficulty breathing) require emergency care.
Be sure to consult your healthcare provider if your sore throat is very painful, lasts more than a few days, or if you have other symptoms.
Most sore throats will clear up in a couple of days. Here are some natural remedies and comfort care tips that may help soothe your pain.
Salt Water Gargle
One of the oldest home remedies for a sore throat, this may help to relieve pain, break down mucus, and reduce swelling. Typically, 1/2 teaspoon of salt is dissolved in a cup of warm water. The saltwater solution should be spit out after gargling and shouldn't be swallowed or reused. Gargling once an hour is sometimes recommended for a sore throat.
Prevent dehydration by drinking liquids. Some people may find relief from drinking warm liquids, while others may prefer cold liquids, which can help soothe inflamed tissue. Avoid hot liquids, which may aggravate throat irritation.
Water is always a good choice, but here are two other options you can consider:
- Warm Lemon Drink: Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, 1 very small sprinkle of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (optional) into a cup of warm water.
The benefits of this folk remedy haven't been studied, but some say that capsaicin (a compound in cayenne) blocks nerves from sending pain signals, and the acid of the lemon juice or vinegar creates a hostile environment for germs. Note: Cayenne and vinegar can worsen pain and cause burns or irritation in the mouth and throat if consumed solo or in excess.
- Tea: A warm (not hot) cup of black tea may help to provide relief from a sore throat. Black tea (Camellia sinensis) contains compounds called tannins, which are astringent and may help to shrink swollen tissue. Some also make double-strength black tea and gargle with it several times a day.
Honey may help suppress a cough and ease discomfort by coating the throat, temporarily relieving irritation.
A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that people who consumed honey before bed coughed less frequently and severely, and were less likely to lose sleep due to coughing than those who didn't take honey. (Two teaspoons at bedtime are recommended.)
Add some to a warm beverage, or try it straight off the spoon. Honey should never be given to a child younger than 1 year due to the risk of botulism.
Cold Foods or Application
Some find relief by sucking on popsicles or eating ice cream. If you have swollen glands in your neck, applying an ice bag may also help.
Since dry air can contribute to a sore throat, a humidifier may help by adding moisture back. Both warm- and cool-mist humidifiers are effective. However, for use around children, it's best to choose cool-mist to avoid hot water spills. You may also want to adjust your thermostat. For some people, a warmer room may lead to dryness, which can aggravate a dry, irritated throat.
Over-the-Counter (OTC) Therapies
You can use over-the-counter pain medications for a sore throat. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen tend to have the greatest effectiveness-to-safety ratio. If you are on blood thinners like Coumadin or have liver problems, ulcer disease, or kidney disease, be sure to discuss which may be better with your healthcare provider.
An anesthetic throat spray, such as Chloraseptic, can be used by children over age 3 and adults. The product instructions say it should not be used for more than two days.
Similarly, medicated or numbing cough drops or throat lozenges can be used. For example, Cepacol Extra Strength lozenges can be used by children of age 5 or 6 (depending on the flavor) or older and adults. They have menthol and benzocaine to numb nerve receptors.
Cough suppressants, such as Robitussin, can be used by children age 6 and over and adults to reduce throat irritation.
If your sore throat is due to allergies and post-nasal drip, you can try over-the-counter antihistamines such as Benadryl or Claritin. These reduce your mucus production during an allergy attack.
For throat pain caused by acid reflux, try an antacid for short-term relief. You can find them in chewable forms, liquids, and tablets. Longer-term OTC medications include H2 blockers, such as Zantac and Pepcid, and proton pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec and Prevacid 24HR. These reduce production of stomach acid.
While the above can help ease a sore throat, you'll need more than that to get rid of it completely if the cause itself requires its own treatment.
Depending on your diagnosis, these prescriptions might be deemed beneficial
Antibiotics for Bacterial Infections
Strep throat and scarlet fever require prescription antibiotics to cure the infection and prevent potentially serious complications, including rheumatic fever and kidney damage.
A five- to 10-day course of penicillin, amoxicillin, or erythromycin is commonly prescribed. Fortunately, relief typically comes within 24 hours of treatment.
It is important that you complete your course of antibiotics to fully treat the infection and decrease the chance of recurrent symptoms or resistant bacteria.
Antibiotics may also be prescribed for other types of bacterial infections that could be causing a sore throat. While these drugs will not cure viral infections, they may be prescribed if your healthcare provider believes you are at risk of developing a bacterial infection on top of a known viral infection.
Corticosteroids for Adults With Severe Sore Throat
A single dose of oral corticosteroids may be used when an adult has a severe sore throat. This therapy is not considered for children.
Topical Anesthetic for Herpangina
Children may have herpangina due to Coxsackie virus or echovirus causing blister-like ulcers in the back of the throat. They rarely have severe pain. If they do, their practitioner may prescribe a topical anesthetic containing benzocaine or xylocaine.
If you have a sore throat due to allergies, your healthcare provider may recommend prescription allergy medication or desensitization therapy to control allergy attacks.
Medications for Acid Reflux and GERD
For a sore throat caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a practitioner may manage your condition with H2 blockers that decrease acid production and/or proton pump inhibitors the lower the amount of acid your stomach makes.
Narcotic Pain Relievers After Throat Surgery
If your throat is sore because of a surgery such as a tonsil removal, a thyroidectomy, or intubation, your healthcare provider may prescribe a narcotic pain reliever.
Surgeries and Specialist-Driven Procedures
For a sore throat that results in abscesses due to bacterial infection behind the tonsils, a practitioner may drain the pus with a needle. Sometimes a doctor may need to make a small incision in the tonsil or tissue next to it to drain the pus in the abscess.
Tonsil removal may be recommended for recurrent strep throat infections or in the case of a severe abscess.
Tonsillectomy used to be a common surgery for children who had recurring sore throats. However, it is now less common and only done when there is chronic tonsillitis. It is much less commonly done in adults. This is usually performed as an outpatient surgery and doesn't require an overnight stay in a hospital.
For a sore throat due to acid reflux, treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) might include surgery if your symptoms don't improve with changes you make to your lifestyle or through medication.
Fundoplication is the most common surgery used to control acid reflux. It is a laparoscopic procedure that is minimally invasive. In this surgery, the top of the stomach is wrapped around the lower esophageal sphincter to make it tighter and prevent acid reflux.
Another type of minimally invasive surgery implants a LINX ring device containing magnetic beads where the stomach meets the esophagus. The magnetic attraction of the beads is just strong enough to allow food to go into the stomach but keep the lower esophageal sphincter closed to prevent acid reflux.
Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Some traditional herbal remedies have been used for a sore throat. Keep in mind that although many of these home remedies have been used for generations, there is still a lack of solid research on their effectiveness and safety.
Used in Europe as an herbal remedy for a variety of throat conditions, the herb sage (Salvia officinalis) has a number of compounds, such as cineole, borneol, camphor, and thujone, and astringent properties that may help ease sore throat pain and reduce swelling and inflammation.
Herbalists sometimes suggest a sage tea or gargle made by steeping 1 teaspoon of dried sage or 1 tablespoon of fresh sage leaves in 1 cup of boiling water. Cover for 10 to 15 minutes and then strain out the leaves. Honey and lemon can be added if desired.
A study found that a sage and echinacea spray every two hours (for a maximum of 10 times per day for five days) improved sore throat symptoms as effectively as a medicated spray. Side effects included a mild burning sensation and throat dryness.
Although it may provide some relief in the short-term, the safety of regular or long-term use of sage supplements isn't known. Pregnant or nursing women should avoid sage supplements.
Native to North America, slippery elm is an herb that has long been used in herbal medicine to soothe a sore throat, dry cough, or laryngitis. Slippery elm is also found in some throat lozenges. When mixed with water, the inner bark of the slippery elm tree forms a thick gel (mucilage) that coats and soothes the throat.
Herbalists typically recommend pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 1/2 teaspoon of powdered bark. Stir, allow it to steep and then gargle once it has cooled.
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has a long history of use as an herbal remedy for a sore throat. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), licorice root is sometimes used as a remedy for stomach ulcers, allergies, canker sores, and viral infections.
A study in Anesthesia & Analgesia found that patients who gargled with a licorice root solution five minutes before general anesthesia were less likely to have a sore throat after surgery and experienced less post-operative coughing than patients who gargled with water.
Licorice is a common ingredient in herbal teas, lozenges, and throat drops for a sore throat. It has a naturally sweet taste.
Licorice in large amounts may lead to high blood pressure, salt and water retention, low potassium levels, and may affect levels of the hormone cortisol. It should not be combined with diuretics, corticosteroids, or other medications that reduce potassium levels in the body. People with heart disease or high blood pressure should avoid licorice. Pregnant women should not take licorice.
Marshmallow, an herb that grows in North America and Europe, has been used for centuries as a home remedy for a sore throat. Like slippery elm, marshmallow contains mucilage.
Herbalists recommend marshmallow root tea as a remedy for sore throats. It is usually made by adding 1 tablespoon of the dried root to a cup (8 ounces) of boiling water and steeping it, covered, for 30 to 90 minutes before straining. Herbalists usually suggest up to three cups a day for a sore throat.
Consult a healthcare provider before taking marshmallow if you have diabetes, as it may make your blood sugar too low, especially when combined with diabetes medication.
Marshmallow may also slow the absorption of other drugs taken at the same time. Marshmallow should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women.
Frequently Asked Questions
Anything that's hard to swallow can scrape against a tender throat on the way down, such as foods with a dry or crispy texture, like crackers or pretzels, or that are hard to break down fully by chewing, like meats. Stick to soup, ice cream, and other soft-textured foods that will slip past your sore throat easily until it feels better.It's also best not to smoke and to steer clear of people who do, as secondhand smoke can irritate an already sore throat.
They can, but not always. Many spicy foods contain capsaicin, a compound in peppers that has been found to provide relief for certain types of pain. When used sparingly, hot sauce may actually help soothe a sore throat.
You have a number of safe options, depending on the cause of your sore throat and your healthcare provider's advice, among them:
- Tylenol (acetaminophen): Don't take more than 3,000 milligrams (mg) in 24 hours.
- Antihistamines: These might help if you have post-nasal drip due to a cold or allergy.
- Benzocaine: Either a spray or lozenge containing this medication can numb a sore throat.
- Chloraseptic: Also available as a spray or lozenge that can ease pain at the site.
You should always check with your obstetrician before starting any medications during pregnancy.
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Al-Hamad AM. Streptococcal throat. Therapeutic options and macrolide resistance. Saudi Med J. 2015;36(9):1128–1129. doi:10.15537/smj.2015.9.11987
Renner B, Mueller CA, Shephard A. Environmental and non-infectious factors in the aetiology of pharyngitis (sore throat). Inflamm Res. 2012;61(10):1041–1052. doi:10.1007/s00011-012-0540-9
InformedHealth. Common colds: Overview. Updated November 15, 2018.
O'Neill J, Brock C, Olesen AE, Andresen T, Nilsson M, Dickenson AH. Unravelling the mystery of capsaicin: a tool to understand and treat pain. Pharmacol Rev. 2012;64(4):939–971. doi:10.1124/pr.112.006163
National Institutes of Health DailyMed. Chloraseptic Sore Throat (Kids Grape). Updated March 7, 2019.
National Institutes of Health DailyMed. Cepacol Extra Strength Sore Throat Cherry. Updated May 8, 2019.
Pardo S, Perera TB. Scarlet Fever. In: StatPearls. Updated February 28, 2019.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Disease: Scarlet Fever. Updated November 1, 2018.
Sadeghirad B, Siemieniuk RAC, Brignardello-Petersen R, et al. Corticosteroids for treatment of sore throat: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised trials. BMJ. 2017;358:j3887. doi:10.1136/bmj.j3887
Morad A, Sathe NA, Francis DO, McPheeters ML, Chinnadurai S. Tonsillectomy Versus Watchful Waiting for Recurrent Throat Infection: A Systematic Review. Pediatrics. 2017;139(2):e20163490. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-3490
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Licorice Root. Updated September 2016.
Penn Medicine. 6 at-home remedies to ease your sore throat. Published November 10, 2020.
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- Schapowal A, Berger D, Klein P, Suter A. Echinacea/Sage or Chlorhexidine/Lidocaine for Treating Acute Sore Throats: A Randomized Double-Blind Trial. European Journal of Medical Research. 2009;14(9):406-412. doi:10.1186/2047-783X-14-9-406.
- Stead W. Patient Education: Sore Throat in Adults (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/sore-throat-in-adults-beyond-the-basics#H5.
Home Remedies for Sore Throat
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
- Help relieve symptoms until the infection goes away
Home remedies cannot
- Cure sore throat, strep throat, viral infection of the throat or tonsillitis
- Prevent a sore throat or tonsillitis with any certainty
REMINDER: Home remedies are NEVER a substitute for medical attention.
Which home remedies can help relieve discomfort caused by a 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)2
- Drink warm or cool liquids (whichever feels more soothing). These can include tea, soup, and rehydration drinks3
- Eat flavored ice pops3
- Nonprescription sore throat sprays4
- Get plenty of rest3
- Use a humidifier in the bedroom to help reduce dry air while sleeping3
- Lozenges or hard candy (children under the age of four shouldn't have these because of risk of choking)3
- 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
REMINDER: If a severe sore throat occurs frequently or lasts longer than five to seven days, make sure you contact your doctor.2
When to contact your doctor about a 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:2
- Severe and persistent sore throat
- Difficulty with breathing and swallowing or opening mouth
- Joint Pain
- Fever (exceeding 101°)
- Lump in neck
- Blood in saliva
- Frequently recurring sore throat
- Lump in neck
- Hoarseness lasting over two weeks
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.4 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.3
- Avoid sharing food, drinks, and eating utensils3
- Regularly clean items commonly shared with other people such as telephones and television remote controls3
- Avoid smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke2
- Avoid inhaling chemical irritants2
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.
- Mayo Clinic. Sore Throat (Overview). Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/home/ovc-20201937. Updated August 8, 2017, Accessed May 1, 2017.
- 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.
- Mayo Clinic. Sore Throat (Self-management). Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/manage/ptc-20202009. Updated August 8, 2017, Accessed May 1, 2017
- Mayo Clinic. Sore Throat (Treatment). Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351640. Updated August 8, 2017, Accessed May 1, 2017
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.
* Compared to monopolar dissection, based on analysis of eight randomized clinical trials.
Harley Jr., Earl H., John T., Mike and Hanson, Beate. Coblation Dissection Versus Monopolar Dissection - A systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. 2016; Data on file with Smith & Nephew, PN 91999 Rev A.
Woloszko, Jean, and Gilbride, Charles. Coblation Technology: Plasma Mediated Ablation for Otolaryngology Applications. Proceedings of SPIE. 2000, Vol. 3907.
25 sore throat remedies
Having a sore throat is a common occurrence that can happen anytime, but it’s especially prevalent in the winter. The common cold or flu aren’t the only reasons why you could develop a sore throat. Also called pharyngitis, a sore throat could be the result of an allergy, acid reflux, dry air, smoking, overusing your voice or vocal cords, or sleeping with your mouth open.
Viruses or bacteria could cause a sore throat. A bacterial infection such as strep throat may require antibiotic medication to relieve symptoms. A healthcare provider can swab the throat and test the culture to diagnose or rule out strep throat.
On the other hand, a sore throat from a viral infection has to run its course, but it should go away fairly quickly with home remedies. Sore throat remedies such as a saltwater gargle, herbal tea, chicken soup, and steam baths are among the numerous ways to treat throat pain.
25 home remedies for sore throats
- Baking soda
- Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Licorice root
- Chicken soup
- Slippery elm
- Marshmallow root
- Hot toddies
- Ice cream
- Ice chips
- Soft foods
- Lozenges or hard candy
- Massaging lymph nodes
- Disinfect surroundings
1. Saltwater gargle
A warm saltwater gargle is an effective home remedy that you can easily add to your daily routine. The ratio of salt to water in a gargle solution can vary, but ½ teaspoon of salt to four ounces of warm water is a starting point. Saltwater can draw mucus out of the inflamed throat and reduce swelling. For maximum effectiveness, swish saltwater in the mouth and gurgle in the back of the throat every few hours.
2. Baking soda gargle
A gargle solution made with baking soda is an alternative to the traditional saltwater solution. Add ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to one cup of warm water and use this solution to cleanse the mouth and throat through gargling. To further health benefits, add ⅛ teaspoon of salt to the mixture. To soothe the throat and reduce mucus, swish, and gargle throughout the day.
3. Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar gargle
To help reduce bacteria and soothe the throat, gargle a mixture of equal parts of lemon juice and warm water. If you don’t have any lemon juice, try one to two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to one cup of heated water to make a gentle natural gargle solution.
RELATED: Does apple cider vinegar have health benefits?
4. Hydrogen peroxide gargle
Hydrogen peroxide can also kill bacteria in the throat and mouth that cause sore throats. One part hydrogen peroxide (3% concentration) added to two parts of water can be gargled and swished to encourage healing. Do not gargle for longer than 90 seconds. Be careful to never gargle swallow a hydrogen peroxide mixture, even if you use “food safe” hydrogen peroxide.
5. Mouthwash gargle
Gargle mouthwash to kill and reduce bacteria in the mouth that could be causing a sore throat. While antibacterial mouthwash is less effective on sore throats caused by viruses, reducing harmful bacteria could still lead to a faster recovery.
6. Licorice root gargle
A mixture made from licorice root and warm water is another effective gargling solution for sore throats and relieving congestion. Licorice root has pain-relieving properties and can help boost the immune system to fight viruses associated with respiratory illnesses. Licorice should not be used in those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Commonly known for soothing sore throats, the consistency of honey can gently coat the throat for relief. Honey is also an antibacterial and can stimulate the body’s immune system. Raw honey increases antioxidants and can help fight infections that cause sore throats. Adding equal parts lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to honey can further increase health benefits. For fast relief, consume one tablespoon of this mixture every two hours or so.
Honey can be a popular sore throat home remedy for both kids and adults, but honey is not recommended for children younger than 2, and should never be given to children under the age of 1. Infant botulism caused by bacteria in honey can affect babies under 1 year old, but most families wait until 2 years old before introducing raw honey into a child’s diet, just to be safe.
A natural antihistamine and decongestant, ginger is effective in reducing congestion. Ginger ale, specifically the ones using real ginger, can break up excess mucus associated with respiratory conditions. As an antiviral and antibacterial, ginger can be drunk (as tea or ale) throughout the day for healing effects.
9. Chicken soup
Besides being a comfort food when sick, eating warm chicken soup when you have a sore throat has numerous health benefits. Chicken soup contains proteins, antioxidants, and amino acids that aid the body’s ability to fight infection. High in magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin A, chicken soup can naturally boost the immune system.
Chicken broth, especially made with garlic, has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that reduce swelling and redness in the throat. Soup made from chicken can also reduce nasal congestion associated with a sore throat. Consuming broth can thin the mucus in the throat, making it easier to cough up.
In addition to all of the other health benefits, chicken soup contains gelatin that can soothe the back of the throat. Drinking broth or eating soup while ill is both healing and hydrating. Staying hydrated and nourished when sick can prevent the illness from spreading.
Camomile tea is anti-inflammatory and an analgesic. This tea can naturally relax strained muscles in the throat as well as relax the body to encourage rest that will also aid in the healing process. Antioxidants found in camomile tea can boost the immune system. The astringent nature of chamomile tea is especially helpful in clearing the mucus from the throat and mucous membranes.
11. Slippery elm
When a sore throat needs soothing, slippery elm tea is a natural way to coat the back of the throat for relief. Boiling water can be poured over slippery elm bark powder then allow the tea to cool down enough to drink safely. “Throat Coat” tea by Traditional Medicines contains slippery elm and tastes similar to licorice.
Fenugreek tea is another option for healing a sore throat. It contains immune-boosting qualities such as magnesium, iron, and vitamin B-6. This sweet and nutty flavored tea is a natural pain reliever with antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Tea made from fenugreek can kill bacteria that cause throat irritation.
13. Marshmallow root
Make marshmallow root tea by pouring boiling water over the dried root. You can drink it throughout the day. Marshmallow root is a natural analgesic with pain-relieving properties that can soothe and relieve an irritated throat.
Another tea on the list for aiding a sore throat is peppermint tea. Peppermint is antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. This herbal remedy also has a cooling effect because of the menthol in the tea leaf. Peppermint acts as a decongestant and can flush mucous membranes. Furthermore, peppermint essential oil can be diluted into a throat spray or mouthwash to promote healing.
15. Hot toddies
Hot toddies aren’t just a wives’ tale—they actually have healing abilities. Whiskey naturally opens the blood vessels in the throat to increase blood flow to the infected area. Also, whiskey can thin and break up mucus in the throat.
Hot toddies are often made with honey, another natural remedy for soothing and healing a sore throat. Other ingredients such as lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, and even nutmeg can add flavor and health benefits to a hot toddy. These spices can stimulate the production of saliva that can break up mucus and improve hydration.
The cooling effects of popsicles can be very soothing to a sore throat, especially for children. All-natural popsicles made from fruit or juice are the preferred choice over sugary ice pops dyed with food coloring. Eating popsicles can be hydrating, especially if drinking liquids is difficult. Avoid dairy-based popsicles as they could increase mucus production.
17. Ice cream
As mentioned above, dairy can increase mucus production and worsen a sore throat. However, many non-dairy ice cream options are available like coconut milk, cashew and oat bases, or sorbets. Allow the ice cream to melt in the back of the throat to soothe and numb irritated tissue.
18. Ice chips
Another method for naturally numbing the throat includes sucking on ice. “Sucking on ice chips can help numb nerve receptors in the back of the throat and decrease swelling,” states Leann Poston, MD, the assistant dean at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine and a contributor for Ikon Health.
19. Soft foods
Avoiding hard foods can reduce throat irritation. Hard and dry crackers, chips, toast, and popcorn could be temporarily eliminated from the diet until the throat heals. Softer foods such as macaroni and cheese, oatmeal, yogurt, and mashed potatoes are more gentle to swallow. Applesauce and pureed fruits and smoothies are a great way to replenish the body while healing from a sore throat.
Again, staying hydrated and nourished is essential when ill. Apple juice and grape juice are high in vitamin C and easy to digest. Avoid citrus beverages such as orange juice and lemonade, as the acid content could irritate throat tissue.
Traditionally used in Native American culture, osha is known for treating respiratory problems, including pneumonia, bronchitis, tonsillitis, coughs, colds, sinus congestion, and sore throat. Osha is a perennial plant with a root that can be used fresh or dried. The plant’s root can be chewed on directly, concocted into a tea, used as oil in a tincture, or powdered in a capsule.
22. Lozenges and hard candy
Throat lozenges and hard candies can help ease sore throat pain. Sucking on a hard candy or cough drop increases saliva production. Cough drops come in many flavors such as honey, cherry, and cooling menthol.
The additional saliva created when sucking on a lozenge lubricates and moistens the throat reducing dry irritation and soreness. Because of choking hazards, do not give cough drops to children younger than 6. Warm apple juice or ice pops may be an alternative solution for kids with a sore throat.
23. Massaging lymph nodes
Massaging the lymph nodes, also known as lymphatic drainage, can help remove the infection that contributes to a sore throat. The lymph nodes will be sensitive and tender to touch. Very gently, rub the swollen lymph nodes located on the side of the neck in a downward motion. This massage technique will help the body eliminate toxins and increase circulation for a more rapid recovery.
24. Disinfect surroundings
If you have any infection (viral or bacterial) contributing to a sore throat or respiratory problem, you can manage the reduction of germs to which you are exposed. Simple tasks such as cleaning surfaces with antibacterial cleaner or wipes can significantly reduce the length of illness. Door knobs, phones, and commonly used surfaces such as countertops and sinks can be hosts for unwanted germs that could lead to reinfection or infection in your family members.
If it is cold and flu season, extra precautions to wash hands thoroughly and more often can also decrease the risk of becoming sick or spreading illness. If you have a sore throat, changing your pillowcase can reduce exposure to germs and bacteria living on bed linens. Also, if you have been sick, replacing your toothbrush is always a good idea because bacteria can live in the bristles that can cause you to be sick for longer.
A vaporizer or humidifier can be used in your home to add moisture to the air. The moistened air can be soothing to an irritated throat. To aid breathing while sleeping, elevate the head and use a humidifier in the bedroom, allowing it to run all night. Essential oils, such as peppermint or eucalyptus, can be added to many vaporizers to ease breathing and stimulate wellness.
Like the humidifier, using steam is an effective method to move congestion and relieve a sore throat. If you do not have access to a steam room, you can run a hot shower, sit in the bathroom, and breathe in the steam. Or, boil water on the stove and position your face a safe distance away (eight to 12 inches) from the hot water with a towel draped overhead to direct the stream toward the nose and mouth. Inhale deeply (through the nose if possible) for several minutes.
RELATED: How to stop coughing at night
Over-the-counter medications for sore throat
While natural remedies such as honey and saltwater gargle can be useful in treating a sore throat, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications may be helpful or sometimes necessary for relieving some cases of sore throats. Products such as numbing throat sprays, lozenges, and cough syrups can help relieve an irritated throat.
OTC pain medicine like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen can relieve a sore throat. However, avoid giving children aspirin as it can lead to a serious side effect called Reye’s syndrome.
RELATED: Is it safe to take ibuprofen and Tylenol together?
OTC throat sprays can help relieve the discomfort associated with a sore throat and kill germs that lead to infection. Commonly used to numb the soft tissue lining the throat, throat sprays come in various flavors with options such as alcohol-free, sugar-free, and aspirin-free.
Throat sprays can target the affected area and work immediately. Anesthetic sprays such as Chloraseptic throat spray can be used every two hours as needed. Spray the anesthetic into the back of the mouth, allow to sit for 15 seconds or so, then spit out any remaining liquid.
Safe and easy to use, Chloraseptic sprays have a low risk of side effects. Discontinue use if hives, itching, or irritation occurs. Furthermore, consult a healthcare provider before administering throat spray to children younger than 12.
Another type of throat spray used to treat sore throats is Betadine. Betadine contains povidone-iodine to prevent or reduce infections that may occur in the throat. This type of antiseptic can kill germs, viruses, fungus, yeast, and even bacteria that cause strep throat. You can use this product every three to four hours at the first signs of a sore throat.
A throat lozenge can soothe and lubricate a dry, scratchy throat. Like throat sprays, lozenges are available in various flavors such as honey, lemon, menthol, and cherry. Using throat lozenges throughout the day can provide fast-acting relief. Ricola and Cepacol are among the popular choices of OTC brands of throat lozenges.
If a cough contributes to a sore throat, cough syrups can be part of the healing process. Cough syrups can suppress a cough so the throat and body can rest and heal. Helpful during the day or night, cough syrups can be soothing and reduce congestion associated with a cough that is causing a sore throat. Robitussin is a well-known brand of cough syrup.
Prescription medication for sore throats
Antibiotics are needed if a bacterial infection causes a sore throat. If you are experiencing a fever, swollen lymph nodes, and the throat is extremely red and has white sores or puss, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication such as penicillin or amoxicillin to treat it.
|Amoxicillin||Antibiotics||Oral||1000 mg daily or 500 mg every 12 hours for 10 days||Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, yeast infection, rash|
|Penicillin||Antibiotics||Oral||500 mg every 12 hours for 10 days||Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash|
|Azithromycin||Antibiotics||Oral||500 mg once a day for 3 days||Nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, dizziness, rash|
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When to see a healthcare provider for a sore throat
Most cases of sore throats are treatable with home remedies and OTC products, but you may need to consult a medical professional if your symptoms don’t go away or the condition worsens.
For example, it could be time to contact a healthcare provider if you have a sore throat that doesn’t improve and pain spreads to the ear. Other symptoms such as high fever, difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, or having white patches in the back of the throat are additional reasons to seek medical attention.
A sore throat is also a mild symptom of coronavirus (COVID-19)—a virus that may require medical attention. Always consult a healthcare professional when seeking sore throat relief for pregnant women or young children.
Treating a sore throat with home remedies as soon as the symptoms begin could prevent the need to see a healthcare provider and significantly reduce the time length of the illness. A combination of home remedies and OTC products could be the solution to a sore throat, but don’t hesitate to reach out for professional assistance to get the help you need.
Strep Throat Remedies to Ease Pain
Sore throats are among the most typical health ailments, particularly in the wintertime. They’re usually caused by infections, which include strep throat, the flu, and the common cold,and while they’re usually very painful, they frequently go away within one week.
Strep Throat Signs
Signs and strep throat symptoms may involve:
- Throat pain which typically comes on rapidly
- Pain in swallowing
- Swollen and red tonsils, occasionally with streaks of pus or white patches
- Small red spots on the region at the back of the roof of your mouth (hard or soft palate)
- Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Vomiting or nausea, particularly in younger kids
- Body aches
Can’t make it one week? Find some relief for a sore throat with the following useful at-home remedies.
As saltwater might not offer instant relief, it still is an efficient remedy for destroying bacteria while easing pain and loosening mucus. Just mix 1/2 a tsp. of salt into eight ounces of warm water then gargle.
Honey is among the top remedies for a sore throat because of its natural antibacterial properties which permits it to act as a wound healer, instantly providing relief for discomfort while working to decrease inflammation. Honey also can destroy bacteria and aid in fighting off viral infections. If you are experiencing a bad cough in addition to a sore throat, honey also may act as an efficient cough suppressant.
Like honey and saltwater, lemons are fantastic for sore throats because they’ll help break mucus up and offer pain relief. Furthermore, they’re packed with Vitamin C which will assist in boosting the immune system and provide it more power to battle the infection. Mix a tsp. of lemon juice into one glass of warm water then drink for fast relief.
It might sound unusual to use hot sauce to alleviate a fiery throat, yet this condiment actually has been shown to offer relief of sore throats. Hot sauce is designed from peppers which are high in capsicum that may be utilized to fight inflammation and offer pain relief. Therefore, while it might burn at first, dropping a couple of drops of hot sauce inside a warm cup of water to gargle might be just the thing that cures a sore throat.
There are several different types of herbal teas to try for fast sore throat relief. Both green tea and clove tea contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that fight off infections while offering relief. Peppermint, chamomile, and raspberry tea are fabulous options for reducing inflammation and relieving pain. Also, chamomile tea may serve as a natural lubricant; therefore, if your voice is hoarse and you are experiencing a hard time speaking, this might be your best bet. Also, peppermint tea naturally can numb your throat and relieve your pain. As you choose the best tea for a sore throat, you also may want to check the content of caffeine. While recovering from a sickness it is vital that you rest. If you are getting prepared to sleep, it might be better to go with a tea that is non-caffeinated.
If you have seen a rise in the quantity of sore throats you have experienced this season, it might be time to buy a humidifier. Dry air, particularly during the cold, harsh days of winter, might be the cause of a sore throat. A humidifier is going to keep the air moist, as well as open up your sinuses. Add in one or two Tbsp. of hydrogen peroxide solution or vapor rub to offer extra relief.
For more information on strep throat contact BASS Urgent Care today!
What’s Causing My Sore Throat? Symptoms & Remedies
When your throat becomes sore, it can be hard to take your mind off it, as the throat is involved in many of our daily activities, from eating and drinking to talking and breathing. A sore throat can occur with no other symptoms, or may be accompanied by a variety of symptoms ranging from cough and headache to fever and nausea. While a severe sore throat can sometimes be a sign of a more serious condition, a mild sore throat with no fever will generally resolve on its own.
What Is a Sore Throat?
A sore throat is irritation of the throat which may feel like scratchiness, burning, rawness, dryness, or pain when swallowing.
The most common form of sore throat is called pharyngitis, or inflammation of the pharynx, which is located at the back of your throat. This is commonly associated with a scratchy feeling in the throat and pain or difficulty swallowing.
Two other common forms of sore throat are:
- Tonsillitis: swelling of the tonsils, located at the back of your mouth
- Laryngitis: swelling of the larynx (voice box or vocal cords)
All forms of sore throat may be characterized by a resting sense of pain, dryness, or rawness that lasts for days; or by more intense pain when eating, swallowing, speaking, or coughing.
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Sore Throat Symptoms
Symptoms of sore throat may include:
- A sensation of scratchiness or rawness in the throat
- Pain that is aggravated by swallowing or talking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore, swollen glands
- Swollen tonsils
- White patches on the tonsils
- Hoarseness, loss of voice, or voice change due to swelling of glands/tonsils
- Loss of appetite
- Bad breath
In the case of infections, sore throat may be accompanied by symptoms such as:
Sore Throat Causes
A sore throat is often caused by a virus, such as the common cold or flu (influenza). In these cases, you will generally experience other symptoms of the viral infection, such as coughing and sneezing, watery eyes, a runny nose, or fever.
Other viral illnesses that can cause a sore throat include:
Another common cause of sore throat is strep throat, a bacterial infection that generally spreads when someone comes into contact with saliva or nasal secretions from an infected person. Strep throat is easily treated with antibiotics, though it’s important to note that antibiotics don’t help in cases of viral infections, like a cold or flu.
In some cases, sore throat can be a symptom of tonsillitis. This occurs when the tonsils become infected or inflamed, resulting in pain at the back of the throat and trouble swallowing due to the swelling of the tonsils.
A sore throat may also be caused by:
- Allergies: A sore throat can be a symptom of an allergic reaction. This is most commonly experienced by people with allergies to dust, pollen, mold, and pet dander. In some cases, these allergens can also trigger postnasal drip, which will further inflame the throat.
- Environmental irritants: Tobacco smoke, chemicals, or other pollution in the air can result in a sore throat. Indoor air that’s excessively dry can cause a rough, scratchy feeling in the throat. Other factors that can contribute to a sore throat include drinking alcoholic beverages and eating spicy foods.
- Vocal muscle strain: Yelling, speaking loudly, singing, or otherwise using your voice for extended periods of time without ample rest can strain the throat and vocal muscles, resulting in soreness and hoarseness.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Also referred to as chronic acid reflux, GERD results in frequently recurring heartburn symptoms due to stomach acid backing up into the esophagus. Effects of this may include throat discomfort and pain, hoarseness, or the sensation of a lump in the throat. You may also experience burning in the throat when stomach acid is pushed up into the esophagus.
Risk Factors and Complications
While anyone can experience soreness in the throat, there are some factors that will make you more susceptible to frequent or severe infections.
You may be at a higher risk for developing a sore throat if:
- You smoke tobacco products or are often exposed to secondhand smoke
- You are allergic to dust, mold, pet dander, or pollen
- You suffer from ongoing or frequent sinus infections
- You have a weakened immune system for any reason, including stress, fatigue, diabetes, HIV, or medical treatments such as chemotherapy
Children between the ages of 3-15 are more likely to contract strep throat than adults. If you think that you may have strep throat, it’s important to see a doctor promptly for evaluation and treatment. If left untreated, strep throat can sometimes develop into a more serious illness, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or rheumatic fever—a disease that impacts the heart.
Diagnosing a Sore Throat
Diagnosing the cause of a sore throat requires a physical examination. Your doctor will likely feel the outside of your neck to check for swollen glands and shine a light into your mouth to look for redness, swelling, and white spots inside the throat and on your tonsils.
If you have a high fever, swollen tonsils with white spots (called “exudates”) and swollen lymph nodes in the neck, you may have a bacterial infection, such as strep throat. If it is uncertain, your doctor may conduct a strep test to confirm the diagnosis. A strep test is a fairly quick procedure—your doctor will swab the back of your throat with a cotton swab and send it to the lab, and the results will generally be available the same day.
If your strep test is negative but you’re experiencing other symptoms such as runny nose, fever, sneezing, coughing, or body chills, you may have a viral infection such as the cold or flu.
How to Treat a Sore Throat
The approach to treating a sore throat is dependent on whether the cause is viral or bacterial.
Bacterial illnesses, such as strep throat, are treated with antibiotics like penicillin and amoxicillin, which kill off the harmful bacteria. Antibiotics for sore throat may be taken by mouth, in pill form, or given as a shot. If you contract strep throat, it will likely ease within 2-3 days of starting antibiotic treatment. Because strep throat is contagious, you should avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after you begin taking the antibiotics.
Tonsilitis can be bacterial or viral in nature. In the case of bacterial infections, tonsillitis can be treated with antibiotics. If the infection is viral, you must simply allow the virus to run its course. Antibiotics for sore throat only work to fend off bacterial infections, so they cannot be used to treat viral tonsillitis or other viral infections like the cold or flu.
Home remedies for sore throat
A sore throat caused by a virus will resolve on its own, but home remedies may be helpful in easing any pain or discomfort.
Home remedies for sore throat include:
- Gargling with warm saltwater to reduce inflammation
- Drinking warm beverages such as herbal tea with honey, warm water with lemon, or soup broth
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Decongestants and other cold medications if post-nasal drip is a contributing factor
- Lozenges or sore throat sprays to soothe sore throat and temporarily numb the pain
- A cool mist humidifier to loosen congestion and soothe sore throat
In addition to these home remedies, getting plenty of rest and staying well hydrated is critical to allow your immune system to fight off the infection and to optimize your recovery.
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How to Prevent a Sore Throat
Preventing a sore throat involves common approaches used in avoiding catching a cold, flu, or similar infection.
To avoid contracting a sore throat, you should:
- Wash your hands regularly or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
- Avoid sharing utensils or food and beverages
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow
- Avoid direct mouth contact with public drinking fountains
- Sanitize remote controls, computer keyboards, door handles, and other objects that are frequently used and touched
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Prevention of tonsillitis includes all of the same methods. If you contract tonsillitis multiple times in close succession, your doctor may recommend surgery—a tonsillectomy—to remove the tonsils to prevent your recurrent symptoms.
When to See a Doctor
If you are experiencing cold and flu symptoms with a mild sore throat, you likely don’t need to make a trip to your doctor’s office. You can generally treat a cold or flu with over-the-counter medications and home remedies, and in these cases, a sore throat will usually resolve within one week or less.
If you believe you have the symptoms of strep throat or anything other than a common cold or flu, you should visit your doctor to get a strep test and a prescription for the necessary antibiotics to treat it. A bacterial infection will need to be treated with antibiotics to prevent complications.
Make an appointment with your doctor if your sore throat doesn’t ease after 2-3 days and you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Fever that’s well above normal body temperature (higher than 103° F/39.4° C)
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Involuntary or excessive drooling
- Pain in your joints or muscles
- Stiffness in the neck
- Blood in your saliva
- Swelling or lump in the neck or face region
- Chronic hoarseness (lasting longer than two weeks)
How K Health Can Help
In order to treat your sore throat, you first need to understand if it’s viral or bacterial. Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app? Download K to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed text with a doctor in minutes. K Health’s AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.
Zina Semenovskaya, MD
Dr. Semenovskaya specializes in emergency medicine, and received her medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College. She is currently the medical director at Remote Emergency Medicine Consulting, LLC and splits her time working clinically as an emergency medicine attending in California and Alaska. She is the first of our doctors to be fluent in Russian.
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