Sore Throat Remedies & Treatments
Medically reviewed by C. Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Jul 11, 2018.
The Warm Salt Water Gargle
With a taste reminiscent of being splashed in the mouth while on holiday at a tropical beach, the salt water gargle makes up for in effectiveness what it lacks in flavor.
The pain from a sore throat stems from a build-up of fluid in the tissues that line the throat. This creates a feeling of tightness and pressure. Salt effectively draws out the water from these tissues, relieving this pressure and helping to flush out causative viruses or bacteria.
Dissolve one-half to one teaspoonful of salt into a medium sized glass of warm (but not hot) water. Add a little honey if the taste is too much to bear, gently gargle the solution for a few seconds, before spitting out.
Rustle Around for An Anti-Inflammatory
Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), are good for the short-term relief of pain. If anybody in your household has ever sprained an ankle, hurt their back, or had a fever, then chances are there'll be a half-finished packet of these collecting dust somewhere in your cupboard.
Check the expiration date and if it hasn't passed, read the instructions to determine the usual dose. Also check the warnings on the packet as some people cannot take an anti-inflammatory. Anti-inflammatories help decrease inflammation and redness and reduce pain in your misbehaving throat.
Treat A Sore Throat With Hard Candy
Saving your sweets for a special occasion? Well, feel justified in classifying your sore throat as a special occasion. Hard candy contains sugar, which, although not so great for your teeth, is very soothing for a sore throat.
Sugar is a form of glucose and glucose has a demulcent action. This means it coats the tissues of the throat with a soothing film when present in the mouth, which helps to relieve pain and redness.
Continual sucking of candy is a magnet for tooth decay so limit yourself to just a couple of sweets per day while your throat is sore.
Chicken Soup is Not Only Good for the Soul
Our bodies are 60% water so keeping fluids up during times of illness keeps our bodies hydrated and our infection-fighting cells ready for action.
While water is the easiest, cheapest, and most readily available fluid, you may prefer to mix up your fluid intake with some salty and sweet options.
Chicken soup has been reported to have a mild anti-inflammatory action as well as be a good source of nourishment when eating is too painful or difficult. Other anti-inflammatory foods include herbal teas which contain antioxidants - also beneficial for boosting your immune system - and honey; a teaspoonful is enough to coat the back of your sore throat providing soothing relief.
Natural Remedies For Sore Throat: Slippery Elm, Licorice, Marshmallow Root
Nature contains an abundance of sore-throat remedies many of which may not be located in your first aid kit, but are readily purchased from your health food store or drugstore.
The inner-bark of the slippery elm tree swells on contact with water and forms a gooey substance that soothes sore throats. Licorice root has anti-inflammatory properties and marsh mallow forms a protective film over the tissues of the throat. Other natural remedies that can soothe a sore throat include Chinese herbs, honeysuckle, echinacea and zinc. Lemon and honey teas, made with the juice of half a lemon mixed with a teaspoonful of honey and a cup of hot water, boost the immune system and reduce inflammation, as well as topping up your vitamin C.
Sore Throat Remedies From Your Drugstore
If you haven't had any success with home remedies for your sore throat then your drugstore has plenty of options.
Lozenges for sore throats come in a range of colors and flavors and help stimulate the flow of saliva, keeping your throat moist. Some lozenges also contain anesthetics which numb your throat, or antiseptics (such as Cepacol sore throat range), which help reduce the chances of a bacterial infection.
Sprays and gargles are also available which target the back of your throat directly.
Strep Throat Is Dangerous: Know The Signs
While all this self-medicating and cupboard purging is good for the wallet, sometimes you do need an expert to look at your throat.
A strep (streptococcal) throat is a sore throat that is caused by bacteria. Strep throats tend to cause extremely sore throats, of much brighter redness than more common virus-causing sore throats. If you have had your sore throat for more than a few days, or if it is very sore or doesn't seem to have got any better, get yourself checked out by a doctor.
Strep throats can sometimes lead to scarlet fever and rheumatic fever (a heart condition with irreversible consequences).
Keep Sore Throats At Bay With Healthy Ways
Prevention is always better than cure and there are a number of simple, but effective ways you can reduce you chances of getting sick in the first place.
Number one is wash your hands! Always before you eat, after you have cared for somebody who is sick, and after going to the bathroom. Eat plenty of vegetables, drink 6 to 8 glasses of water each day, and limit the amount of sugar you eat and alcohol you drink. Exercise, don't smoke, and don't yell!
If you do feel yourself coming down with something, reach for the salt and whip yourself up a delicious gargle!
Finished: Sore Throat Remedies And Treatments
- Sore throat. Home remedies. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20027360
- Rennard BO, Ertl RF, Gossman GL, et al. Chicken soup inhibits neutrophil chemotaxis in vitro. Chest. 2000 Oct;118(4):1150-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11035691
- Sore throat. Treatment. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sore-throat/basics/alternative-medicine/con-20027360
- Strep throat. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/strep-throat/basics/definition/con-20022811
- Live Well. Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/healthy_living/hic_Steps_to_Staying_Well