How can I manage a sore throat at home?

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Most viral sore throats can be treated with home care. Home care also is a good supplement to the antibiotic treatment given for bacterial infections to relieve pain. These are some home care measures to try:

  • Gargle every few hours with salt water (1/4 teaspoon salt in eight ounces warm water).
  • Drink a cup of weak tea with lemon or honey.
  • Increase fluids to eight to 12 glasses a day.
  • Try over-the-counter throat lozenges containing local anesthetics.
  • Cough drops or hard candy can moisten the throat.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Try acetaminophen, aspirin or ibuprofen for pain and fever. (Do not give aspirin to children under 18.) Follow the label for correct dosage.
  • Using a vaporizer to moisten the air may help moisten the throat.
  • Avoid smoking or being around smoke and other throat irritants.
  • If stomach acid is contributing to the sore throat, take precautions for heartburn.

Continue Learning about Throat Disorders

Throat Disorders

Throat Disorders

Disorders of the throat may be caused by inflammation, infection, or growths such as polyps, ulcers or even cancerous tumors. Throat problems are very common, especially in young children. A sore throat is usually minor and may go ...

away on its own. However, some sore throats can be caused by a streptococcus (usually called just strep) bacteria and may require an antibiotic. If you see white patches on the back of your throat, you should suspect strep throat and see your doctor. If you have a lump or sore that doesn't go away, trouble swallowing or hoarseness and especially if you smoke and drink alcohol, you may be at risk for throat or mouth cancers. If found early these kinds of cancers are often curable. See your doctor to get the right diagnosis.
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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.