Home Remedies for a Sore Throat
A sore throat can make life miserable, especially when it keeps you up at night. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to soothe a sore throat at home.
- Honey: If your sore throat is related to a stubborn cough, honey may ease your discomfort. According to one study, honey can actually be more effective than over-the-counter cough suppressants at taming nighttime coughs.
- Salt water: Gargling with salt water can break down secretions and help soothe a sore throat. To make a saltwater solution, fill a glass with warm water and stir in a half-teaspoon of salt. You should then gargle every three to four hours, being careful not to swallow any of the mixture.
- Chamomile tea: Researchers have linked chamomile to all sorts of health benefits. It's also been used for centuries to sooth sore throats. If you're struggling to ignore your throat pain, consider sipping a warm cup of chamomile tea.
- Cough drops or ice pops: You can temporarily blunt sore throat pain by sucking on a lozenge or hard candy. Just make sure not to give these to kids under four due to choking risks. Ice pops can also reduce throat irritation.
While at-home remedies may take the edge off a sore throat, there are also some things you can do to reduce irritation and promote healing. These include:
- Resting your voice
- Drinking fluids to keep your throat moist
- Sitting in a steamy bathroom or using a cool-air humidifier to eliminate dry air
- Avoiding irritants such as cigarette smoke of harsh cleaning products
If your sore throat is caused by post nasal drip, consider taking an antihistamine before going to bed. Just make sure to follow the directions on the label and check with your pediatrician before giving antihistamines to young children.
When to See a Doctor
A sore throat can be caused by any number of factors, including low humidity, a common cold, smoking, yelling, air pollution or nasal drainage. In some cases, it can also be caused by strep throat, mononucleosis or tonsillitis. Be sure to see your doctor if your throat pain is especially severe or lasts longer than a few days. You should also see your doctor if your throat pain is accompanied by a fever over 101 degrees, a red rash or white spots on tonsils.