What are the Best Sore Throat Remedies?

Tea, lemons, ginger, and turmeric on a table.
  • Sore throats are generally not serious, and home remedies or OTC medications can be used to soothe them.

  • Some sore throat remedies include warm tea, water, honey, and increasing the moisture content in the air with humidifiers.

  • Throat pain lasts a few days, but pollution, alcohol, and acidic foods are some factors that can make it harder to recover from a sore throat.

A sore throat is a symptom of many illnesses and conditions, and it is not usually cause to seek medical attention, although it can be an indication of a viral or bacterial infection.

There are treatments you can use to soothe a sore throat, but it may disappear on its own in a few days.

Whether your sore throat has been caused by an infection, allergies, or environmental pollutants, we outline everything you need to know to relieve sore throat pain in this article.

What is a Sore Throat?

A sore throat is a feeling of pain, discomfort, or irritation in your throat. Talking, eating, or coughing may worsen the pain.

There are a number of illnesses that can cause a sore throat, including common colds and flu, and more serious bacterial or viral infections.

A sore throat can make it difficult to carry out your daily tasks and it can worsen at night, keeping you from getting the rest you need.

Most sore throats are seldom a sign of life-threatening conditions, but it’s best to seek help if your pain persists or is accompanied by other symptoms.

Regular throat infections may be a sign of recurrent tonsillitis. If you keep getting throat infections due to tonsillitis, you may need a tonsillectomy to stop throat infections.

How long will a sore throat last?

A sore throat doesn’t typically last long, and symptoms will ease up and disappear within a few days of treatment.

However, if you are using antibiotics to clear a bacterial infection, you’ll need to complete the course even if your sore throat symptoms have disappeared.

Here are some things to avoid if you’re trying to heal your sore throat:

  • Inhaling polluted air

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco

  • Consuming foods and drinks that irritate your throat, such as citrus fruits, berries, alcohol, and spicy dishes

  • Dry air and voice strain

  • Any foods that are hard or acidic

Home Remedies for Sore Throat

Most people with a sore throat won’t end up consulting a doctor. In fact, many of us will reach for something we already have in our cupboards for relieving pain relief or soothing discomfort.

Here are some sore throat home remedies for fast relief.

Drinking enough fluids

Water, teas, and soups will keep you hydrated. If you do not get enough fluids, your body can’t produce saliva to keep your throat moist, which worsens throat irritation and inflammation.

Both warm and cold liquids help numb throat pain.

Increasing the humidity

Breathing in dry air can worsen throat pain, while moist air can soothe inflamed tissue in the nose and throat.

Desk humidifiers are widely available, but you can also make a natural humidifier by showering with an open bathroom door to let the steam waft through the house. Another option is bringing more plants into the home; their leaves release moisture into the air through transpiration.

Is a sore throat causing you discomfort?

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

Drinking tea

When you drink tea, you are not only consuming more water and staying hydrated, but also benefitting from tea’s anti-inflammatory properties.

The warmth from a cup of your favorite herbal tea blend also boosts blood circulation, which promotes healing.

Some great options include peppermint tea, green tea, and licorice root tea.

Consuming honey

Honey has several medicinal properties and research has shown that people who consume honey experience relief from throat pain.

The wound healing and antimicrobial properties of honey make it a great throat soother. It can be eaten as is or stirred into tea.

Gargling with salt water

A warm salt water solution is a great way to get rid of excess mucus in the throat and bring relief from discomfort.

In addition, salt water also helps to kill bacteria and calm inflammation.

OTC Remedies for Sore Throat

For even faster relief, visit your local pharmacy and try some of the following OTC options:

  • Acetaminophen

  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

  • Ibuprofen

  • Naproxen

If your sore throat is caused by allergies, try using a decongestant or antihistamine.

A runny nose can cause post nasal drip which irritates the back of the throat. In this case, a steroid nasal spray and nasal rinse can help control symptoms that lead to throat pain.

When Should I Visit the Doctor for a Sore Throat?

Sore throats are not typically serious. However, if your sore throat is not responding to treatment, it’s accompanied by a high fever, you have difficulty sleeping, or it’s interfering with your daily activities, speak to your doctor.

Head over to LifeMD to make a telehealth appointment, today.

Jarrod Nero, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Jarrod, a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner, earned his B.S. in Nursing from William Carey University and an M. S. in Family Health Nursing from the Southern University of Baton Rouge. He lives in New Orleans with his partner and son.

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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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