5 Easy Ways To Get Rid of a Sore Throat

Man sitting in bed, wincing at his sore throat, while holding a cup of tea.
  • A sore throat is the feeling of pain or irritation that worsens when you breathe, swallow, or talk.

  • Most sore throats can be treated at home. You can also use over-the-counter medicine to alleviate symptoms and reduce discomfort.

  • Although a sore throat isn’t usually cause for concern, you should see a doctor if you’re struggling to get rid of it or if your symptoms worsen.

Developing a sore throat can be an uncomfortable and frustrating experience. However, this condition is usually relatively easy to treat and get rid of.

Most cases of sore throat are mild enough to treat at home, with only 4% of Americans needing medical attention for their symptoms.

This article takes a closer look at different ways you can try to alleviate discomfort and what you can do to get rid of your sore throat fast.

What are the Main Symptoms of a Sore Throat?

A sore throat is a common condition characterized by irritation, scratchiness, and even pain that worsens when you swallow, breathe, or talk.

Depending on the cause of your sore throat, the discomfort may last anywhere from three to ten days.

How to Get Rid of a Sore Throat with Ease

There are many at-home and medicinal options to help you get rid of a sore throat.

Depending on what’s causing your discomfort, you may need to try a combination of both for best results.

Relieve sore throat pain at home

If a sore throat occurs, there are many at home solutions that you can use to treat it. Drink plenty of warm and cold drinks

Tea, chicken soup, ice water, and popsicles can do wonders for soothing a painful, sore throat. Warm drinks may also reduce coughing, which helps to relieve irritation.

Not only that, but liquids also help clear the mucous membranes to prevent sinus infections that can worsen your discomfort.

Gargle with salt water and baking soda

Gargling with salt water can help reduce swelling and inflammation, while baking soda breaks up mucus and minimizes throat-irritating acid reflux.

These ingredients also act as a natural pain reliever.

It’s recommended to mix half a teaspoon of each substance in a glass of warm water, gargling every three hours. Avoid swallowing the mixture.


Steaming, which you can do by taking a hot shower or holding your face over a bowl of warm water, is a great way of soothing a sore throat naturally.

The steam not only helps to loosen any mucus that may be irritating you, but also moisturizes your dry and irritated throat.

Make a hot toddy

A hot toddy is a warm drink made with water, whiskey, honey, and lemon juice. You can also add cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger.

Many of these ingredients have antibacterial properties that can reduce irritation and soothe a sore throat.

The bit of whiskey — optional, and for adult use only — helps thin the mucus that often exacerbates the discomfort.

Is a sore throat causing you discomfort?

Don’t wait to feel better. Schedule an online appointment with a doctor or nurse practitioner.

Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicine

OTC medications like antihistamines and painkillers can provide relief from sore throat symptoms.

Common medication options to treat sore throats include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

For more severe bacterial infections, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to help relieve your symptoms.

How to Get Rid of a Sore Throat Overnight

If you have a mild case of sore throat that isn’t caused by an infection, you might be able to get rid of it overnight.

However, a sore throat will usually last for at least three days before symptoms start to improve.

What should you avoid when trying to get rid of a sore throat fast?

If you’re trying to get rid of a sore throat quickly, you must avoid substances and activities that can irritate the area even further.

Common things to steer clear of include:

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Essential oils

  • Dry air

  • Smoking

  • Acidic or spicy foods

Should I See a Doctor about My Sore Throat?

Although a sore throat doesn’t usually require professional medical attention, you should know when to go and see your doctor.

Make an appointment with them if:

  • Your sore throat pain is severe enough to cause extreme discomfort

  • The pain isn’t getting better

  • You have pain that stretches into your ear

  • You’re experiencing problems with swallowing, breathing, or opening your mouth

  • You cough up or have blood in your saliva

  • You feel enlarged lymph nodes or lumps in your neck

  • There are white patches on the back of your throat

  • You have a high fever

Persistent or worsening symptoms like the ones mentioned above may indicate a severe bacterial infection — like strep throat — that requires professional treatment.

Where Can I Learn More about Sore Throat and Other Illnesses?

If you have a sore throat or are concerned that you may have contracted a viral infection, you can speak to a board-certified physician or nurse practitioner from the comfort of your home.

Head over to LifeMD to make a telehealth appointment.

Shanta Williams, APRN

Shanta is a board-certified, multi-state NP who has worked in healthcare for over 14 years. She earned her M.S. in Family Nurse Practitioning. In 2020, she was one of the first Nurse Practitioners to assist with the COVID-19 outbreak in New York.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency.

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