What is a sore throat?
A sore throat is just what it sounds like — a soreness or discomfort inside your throat. It can be associated with many different illnesses or conditions, so a sore throat itself is typically only a symptom of a bigger concern. Depending on what’s causing your sore throat, a variety of approaches may help you find relief.
Main symptoms of a sore throat
- Sudden throat pain
- Swollen tonsils, often covered with pus or white patches.
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Tiny red spots that appear on the roof of the mouth
7 at-home remedies for a sore throat
If your sore throat is the result of a virus, you'll need to rest and let your body heal.
Here are seven more things you can do at home to soothe the pain:
Saltwater may not provide instant relief, but it's a way to kill bacteria, loosen mucus, and ease the pain. Mix half a teaspoon of salt with eight ounces of warm water, gargle, and spit.
Honey and lemon
Honey has antibacterial properties and helps reduce inflammation. It also acts as a natural cough suppressant. Lemon juice breaks up mucus and contains immunity-boosting vitamin C to fight your infection. Mix one teaspoon of lemon juice with two tablespoons of honey. Add it to a cup of tea or hot water, stir well, and sip away.
Some herbs help heal a sore throat. Three good options for relieving inflammation and pain are:
Dry air is harsh on the throat and lungs, especially during the winter months. A humidifier will open your sinuses and keep the air in your room moist, making it easier to breathe.
Lozenges or hard candies
Sucking on a throat lozenge or candy helps produce saliva which can soothe your sore throat by keeping it from drying out.
Over-the-counter pain medications
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Risks and outlook for a sore throat
Sore throat pain associated with a virus is typically mild, lasts for a few days, and responds well to at-home treatment. If you have untreated strep throat or a condition like tonsilitis, you may have throat pain for much longer.
When to see your doctor
If your sore throat is severe, you have a rash, swollen tonsils, or a fever over 101 degrees that lasts for longer than a day, it's time to make an appointment with your doctor. It's likely strep or another bacterial infection. In this situation, you'll typically be prescribed antibiotics and can continue the at-home remedies to soothe your throat pain.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Centers For Disease Control and Prevention: "Sore Throat | Community | Antibiotic Use."
News in Health: "Soothing a Sore Throat."
Penn Medicine: "6 At-Home Remedies to Ease Your Sore Throat."
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How Do I Know If My Sore Throat Is Viral or Bacterial?It’s seldom easy to tell the difference between bacterial and viral sore throats. Find out what the differences are and learn some tips for telling them apart.
Is Sore Throat (Pharyngitis) Contagious?The medical term for a sore throat is pharyngitis. There are many causes of a sore throat such as medications, diseases (GERD, cancer, AIDS), infections (Streptococcus or strep, mononucleosis), allergies, and smoking. Symptoms are a red, swollen throat; fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Treatment for sore throat depends on the cause.
Sore throat (throat pain) usually is described as pain or discomfort in the throat area. A sore throat may be caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, toxins, irritants, trauma, or injury to the throat area. Common symptoms of a sore throat include a fever, cough, runny nose, hoarseness, earaches, sneezing, and body aches. Home remedies for a sore throat include warm soothing liquids and throat lozenges. OTC remedies for a sore throat include OTC pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Antibiotics may be necessary for some cases of sore throat.
Sore Throat Home RemediesNatural and home remedies for sore throat symptoms and pain relief include essential oils, licorice gargles, slippery elm leaves, raw garlic, Throat Coat tea, sage, and acupuncture. Typical symptoms of a sore throat include throat pain, coughing, sneezing, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Sore throats are caused by viral (common cold, flu, mumps), bacterial (tonsillitis, some STDs), toxins, allergens, trauma or injury, or "mechanical causes" (breathing through the mouth).
Sore Throat SlideshowIs this a sore throat or could it be strep throat? Your medical care depends on knowing if you have a viral infection or a bacterial infection. Learn about at-home self-care for throat infection, hoarseness, and scratchiness.