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How do over-the-counter pain relievers treat bacterial throat infections?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers cannot directly treat bacterial throat infections. Antibiotics are necessary to actually kill the bacteria causing the infection. However, OTC pain relievers can be a useful way to treat the symptoms of throat infections while waiting for the antibiotics to kick in. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are the primary drugs used. It is not a good idea to give aspirin to your child with a throat infection. Make sure to follow the recommended dosage on the labels of these drugs; it is possible to overdose.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.