Home remedies for sore throat
Not everyone needs to see a doctor for a sore throat. If your child has a sore throat, it’s best to call the doctor if he or she is younger than 3 years old.
If your child is older than 3 years, you should call the doctor if:
- The sore throat lasts longer than one week or is severe
- Your child has white spots or pus on the tonsils
- Your child has trouble swallowing, breathing or opening the mouth
- Your child’s temperature (feels hot to touch) reaches 104 degrees F (40 degrees C)
Gargle with salt water
Gargling with salt water is the most effective home remedy for a sore throat. It can help relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation by drawing out excess mucus. A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that gargling with salt water (1 tsp per cup) relieves throat pain from acute pharyngitis (sore throats) and reduces feverishness faster than simply resting.
To make salt water:
Add 1 tsp of salt to 1 cup of warm tap water. Stir until dissolved completely then gargle as often as possible throughout the day (for best results). Don’t swallow it! Gargle until your mouth feels clean again then spit out—don’t swallow it!
Drink warm liquids
- Drink warm liquids.
- Warm drinks can help with sore throat pain and congestion. You may already know that a hot drink works wonders when you have a cold, but did you know that it can also help if your throat is sore? Try one of these options:
- Tea or coffee (without any sugar)
- Hot water with lemonade (no sugar). The acids in the lemonade will help soothe your throat, while the heat will increase blood flow to reduce swelling and pain.
Suck on lozenges
Lozenges can help keep your throat moist and relieve some of the symptoms of a sore throat. However, they aren’t recommended for everyone. You shouldn’t use lozenges:
- If you have a history of seizures or other conditions that make it hard to swallow (such as dysphagia). This is because there’s a chance that the lozenge may block your airway.
- If you’re 6 years old or younger—lozenges can be toxic if swallowed by children under 6 years old. Children will likely chew on them, so it’s better to stick with ice chips or popsicles instead.
- If you have kidney disease or poor heart function because certain ingredients in lozenges can cause serious side effects like low blood pressure and rapid heartbeat in these conditions as well as other medical conditions.
Add moisture to the air
To help relieve that scratchy feeling, try adding moisture to the air. Run a humidifier or take a steamy shower (especially if you can’t stand the heat). Avoid spending too much time in an air-conditioned room, as this will dry out your mouth and throat. Drinking plenty of water also helps keep your throat and vocal cords hydrated while they heal.
Keep away from alcohol and caffeine as they can irritate your sore throat—instead, drink tea with honey or lemon in it.
Skip the cold drinks and foods
The next thing you should know is that a sore throat can be caused by either a virus or an allergy, and that the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. This means there’s a chance it might not be just your cold that’s causing your sore throat, but rather an allergy to something in your environment or diet.
In any case, there are some foods and drinks that may irritate the throat and make the pain worse—and others which help soothe the pain. To help you understand why certain things may make your sore throat worse than others, let’s take a look at what causes them in the first place.
- To get the most out of steam, make sure you have a humidifier and not just steam from boiling water.
- You can sit in the steam for up to 10 minutes, but if it’s making you feel lightheaded or uncomfortable, then take a break.
- If you’re using this method at night, be careful that your face doesn’t get too close to the nozzle as it may burn your skin.
- Always let your child hold his/her breath before entering into any kind of hot environment like a sauna or a hot tub so he/she doesn’t overheat!
Use a humidifier at night
To ease the symptoms of your sore throat, try using a humidifier at night. Humidifiers are small devices that increase the moisture in the air and make it easier to breathe. They can be purchased at any drugstore or medical supply store, and they’re fairly inexpensive.
If you don’t want to invest in an expensive humidifier, you can also use a vaporizer instead. Vaporizers work by heating water until it turns into steam (like boiling tea), which makes its way out of the machine and into your room through a venting system.
You should clean your humidifier regularly by brushing off any dust particles or debris that have accumulated on its surface with an old toothbrush (no need to worry about bacteria or germs!). You’ll also need new filters every three months if using carbon-based ones; otherwise, change them out every six months or so depending on how often you use yours!