What natural home remedies relieve sore throat pain and other symptoms?
Various home remedies help soothe throat pain and other symptoms of a sore throat.
- Gargle with warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water) and then spit it out.
- Drink warm liquids (such as caffeine-free tea, water with honey, or warm soup broth).
- Consume cold foods, for example, Popsicles or ice cream.
- Use a humidifier to moisten dry air.
If a sore throat is caused by an infection, it is important to drink plenty of fluids and to rest in order to prevent dehydration and to allow the body to properly recover.
What OTC medications help relieve throat pain?
Various over-the-counter (OTC) medications can help soothe a sore throat. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) are analgesics that can provide pain relief. These medications also can reduce fever if the sore throat is caused by infection. Avoid aspirin in children and teenagers, as it has been associated with a serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.
Throat lozenges and analgesic throat sprays can help relieve throat pain for some people. (Do not give lozenges to young children, as they are a choking hazard.) O
OTC medications that can help relieve throat pain caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) include:
If allergies or postnasal drip is causing a sore throat, OTC antihistamines and decongestants may provide symptom relief. If a cough is causing a sore throat, an OTC cough syrup may help diminish the cough.
Zinc lozenges have been found to decrease the duration of symptoms in patients with colds.
What can I do if I keep getting sore or strep throat?
There are a number of situations in which a child or adult can have recurrent positive strep tests.
- The first, and most common, is that the strep bacteria were never eradicated in the first place. The person did not get all of the doses of the medication prescribed. Unless the affected person takes a full 5 to 10-day course of antibiotics, the strep throat will not clear. Even missing a dose or two can be a problem. The patient should take all medication exactly as prescribed, and finish all the medication, even if the sore throat has resolved.
- Individuals may be asymptomatic carriers of strep (a person who has strep in their throats all the time as part of their normal bacteria, but without symptoms of a sore throat). It may be necessary to test close contacts of a person with recurrent episodes of strep to see if they are carriers.
- All strep throat bacteria will be killed by penicillin. If penicillin does not cure strep throat, the affected person should see their doctor. In rare cases, other bacteria in the throat can secrete an enzyme (penicillinase) that breaks down penicillin. This can be overcome by using a drug that is resistant to this enzyme.
Can antibiotics cure a sore throat?
Most cases of sore throat are caused by a viral infection, so antibiotics in these situations are not needed. Antibiotics do not have any effect on viral infection, as it will need to run its course and your body’s natural defenses will typically clear this type of infection.
However, if your sore throat is being caused by a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, then a course of antibiotics will be required to resolve the infection. Complete the full course of antibiotics prescribed, even if you feel better after a few days.
How can I prevent getting a sore throat? 12 Ways
Often, certain causes of sore throats can be prevented since the most common cause are infections. Whether a sore throat is caused by a viral infection or strep throat, you can help prevent getting or transmitting the infection to others.
12 ways to prevent a sore throat
- Avoid close contact with people who are already ill with a viral upper respiratory tract infection or with strep throat (and other bacterial infections).
- Practice good personal hygiene habits, such as frequent and thorough hand washing.
- Avoid sharing personal objects (such as dishes, cups, or utensils).
- Cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid touching potentially infected surfaces (computers, doorknobs, or phones) and direct contact with handkerchiefs, napkins, tissues, or towels used by the person with the infection.
- Taking antibiotics and finishing the full course to treat and decrease transmission of the bacteria causing the infection.
Certain measures to help prevent less common causes of sore throats include:
- Take OTC medications to help prevent sore throats if the cause is GERD, allergies, postnasal drip, or cough.
- Avoid cigarette smoke, pollutants, and noxious airborne chemicals.
- Taking safety measures and using protective sports equipment to help avoid traumatic injury to the neck and throat.
- Chewing your food carefully in order to prevent injury to the throat from a foreign body (from a fish bone, for example)
- Avoiding excessive or prolonged yelling.
When should I see a doctor for a sore throat?
Sore throat is a common symptom, and the decision to seek medical care can sometimes be difficult. Though many individuals with a sore throat will have a viral illness that will typically run its course and resolve without problems, certain causes of sore throats may require treatment beyond waiting out the illness and treating it with over-the-counter medications. See a doctor if your sore throat continues for an extended period.
If you have these signs or symptoms, make an appointment with doctor or to the nearest emergency department:
- Severe sore throat
- Difficulty or inability to swallow saliva, food, or liquids
- Difficulty or inability to open your mouth
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe neck pain or neck stiffness
- Redness or swelling of the neck
- Bleeding from the throat, or blood in your saliva/phlegm
- Fever greatern than> 101 F (38.3 C)
If I am pregnant and have a sore throat, what medications are safe to take?
If you are pregnant and your sore throat symptoms are severe, talk to your doctor. Home remedies such as over-the-counter lozenges or saltwater gargles are generally safe. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used for pain or fever.
If symptoms last for more than three days or are associated with a fever see your doctor to be tested for strep throat.
Is a sore throat contagious?
A sore throat may be contagious, depending on the underlying cause. Most sore throats are caused by infections, and under these circumstances, a sore throat can be contagious, whether it is caused by a viral infection (the most common cause) or strep throat. To prevent spreading contagious infections that cause sore throats, preventative measures should be taken to prevent the transmission of the infection.
Most types of these infections are transmitted person-to-person via saliva or nasal secretions commonly spread in airborne respiratory droplets or through direct contact with infected objects (for example, cups or utensils) and infected surfaces. To stop the spread of infections to others:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Do not sharie utensils and cups
Is there a test to diagnose the cause of sore throats?
To diagnose the cause of a sore throat, the doctor will ask for a detailed history of the illness and perform a physical examination. Because most cases of sore throats are associated with infections, your doctor may order tests to differentiate between a bacterial or viral infection. If your doctor suspects you have strep throat, usually, he or she will take a rapid strep test (swabbing the throat). It takes only minutes for the results, and usually can be obtained during an office visit. A throat culture may be sent to the lab for definitive evaluation of strep throat if the initial rapid strep test is negative. Usually, the results of the culture are available within 24 to 48 hours.
Usually, no further tests are needed, depending on the details of the medical history and the findings on a physical exam. Your doctor may need to order addditional tests to help determine the cause of the sore throat, for example:
- Blood tests
- Radiologic imaging (CT scan or x-ray) of the throat and neck area to evaluate for other various causes of a sore throat (abscess, trauma/injury, tumor, etc).
- In certain cases, a specialist may be recommended depending on the symptoms and presumptive diagnosis (an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist, for example).