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Sore Throat Remedies

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Updated April 10, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Sore throats can be quite painful and finding effective sore throat remedies isn't always easy. Find some helpful tips here for soothing that sore throat and find out when you need to seek medical attention instead of treating it yourself.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Taking pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) can help relieve the pain of a sore throat. Aspirin may help for adults but should never be given to children under 18.
  2. Drinking warm drinks or eating broth based soup is an effective sore throat remedy that has been used for many years. It turns out grandma knew what she was doing when she made that chicken soup!

    Drinking hot tea with honey in it is also a good way to soothe a sore throat. The honey helps to coat the throat and can be given to children as long as they are old enough to drink warm liquids. Remember, honey should never be given to a child under 12 months old.

  3. Eat cold foods or drinks such as popsicles, ice cream and milkshakes. Just like warm drinks can soothe a sore throat, cold foods and drinks are also effective sore throat remedies.
  4. Gargle with warm salt water. Adults and older children can soothe a sore throat by gargling several times a day with warm salt water.

    To create the right mixture of salt water, dissolve 1/2 tsp salt into 1 cup of warm water.

  5. Older children (over about 8 years old) and adults can suck on hard candies or throat lozenges to help relieve the pain of a sore throat.
  6. Running a humidifier is another effective sore throat remedy. It puts extra moisture in the air and will help prevent your throat from getting too dry, especially at night.

Tips:

  1. Be sure you know the signs of strep throat. If you have these symptoms, you will need to see your health care provider to determine what course of treatment is best for your sore throat. Strep throat must be treated with antibiotics to prevent very serious complications such as rheumatic fever.

  2. If your sore throat lasts for more than a few days or is so severe that it is difficult to swallow, you should see your health care provider.
  3. If you have a high fever, swollen lymph nodes in your neck or a rash along with the sore throat, see your health care provider. These could be signs of scarlet fever.
  4. If you have a sore throat and you are having difficulty breathing, call 911 or go to the closest emergency room. This could be a life-threatening situation.

  5. If your throat hurts so badly that you have difficulty opening your mouth wide or it is significantly more painful on one side of your throat than the other, seek medical attention right away.

    Sources:

    "Pharyngitis." Medline Plus 14 Mar 09. US National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. 22 Jan 10.

What You Need

  • Warm drinks
  • Honey
  • Cold foods
  • Humidifier
  • Pain relieving medications such as Tylenol or Motrin
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