Sore Throat Home Remedies and Treatments

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Doctor's View on Sore Throat Home Remedies and Treatments

Comment by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP


If you have a sore throat caused by bacteria (for example, strep throat), your health care professional will most likely treat it with antibiotics such as amoxicillin and others. If your sore throat was caused by a virus, you were likely not prescribed antibiotics or given medical treatment. You do have options with either type of sore throat to use home remedies that can help ease symptoms.

Home remedies and OTC treatments

  • Both adults and children can use lozenges and cough drops to help relieve dryness, and anesthetic throat sprays to help with pain relief.
  • Drink tea with honey and lemon to soothe the throat.
  • Drink cold beverages or eat frozen desserts such as ice cream or Popsicles.
  • Gargle with salt water to help clear the throat and loosen mucus – this is especially helpful when a sore throat is caused by postnasal drip.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and thins mucus secretions.
  • Use a humidifier to help keep the mouth and throat moist and reduce irritation.

OTC Medications

  • You can take over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to help ease the pain and inflammation caused by a sore throat. Remember, never give children aspirin or aspirin-containing medications due to the possibility of Reye's syndrome.
  • Over-the-counter decongestants help shrink mucus membranes and relieve a runny nose or postnasal drip, which can irritate the throat.
  • Decongestants may not be safe for children, the elderly, or people with certain medical conditions. Check with your doctor before using over-the-counter medication or any home remedy.

Sore Throat Home Remedies and Treatment Resources

Read patient comments on Sore Throat - Home Remedies

Doctor written main article on Sore Throat (Pharyngitis)


UpToDate. Symptomatic relief of sore throat in children and adolescents.

UpToDate. Patient information: Sore throat in adults (Beyond the Basics).

Last Editorial Review: 7/12/2013 7:05:55 PM