Symptoms of a sore throat usually include pain, inflammation, scratchiness, and dryness. Viral and bacterial infections, as well as irritation or dryness associated with allergies, often cause a sore throat. Home remedies for a sore throat can help for the common causes of the condition. Rest, liquids, and nonprescription drugs often assist in treating a throat infection. A sore throat that lingers and comes with severe symptoms requires immediate medical attention.
Home remedies for a sore throat may temporarily relieve symptoms. Besides the nuisances of pain, a scratchy throat, and overall irritation, home remedies may relieve hoarseness and redness of the tonsils. Additional symptoms such as swallowing difficulties, dryness, swollen glands, and pus on the tonsils may also be helped by at-home sore throat remedies.
The presence of a sore throat indicates viral infections such as the cold or flu. A sore throat also accompanies illnesses such as chickenpox, measles, and mononucleosis. Bacterial illnesses like whooping cough and strep throat also cause a sore throat. Allergies caused by dust, molds, dander, or other irritants sometimes cause a sore throat. This especially applies if the allergy sufferer deals with nasal congestion or postnasal drip.
Most sore throat symptoms caused by bacterial and viral infections may be treated at home. Medical sources recommend making rest a number-one priority, and this also includes taking a break from talking if possible. Also while at home, remove dust, smoke, and other irritants to help lessen sore throat symptoms. One solution involves purchasing a warm- or cool-mist humidifier to add moisture to the dry air.
Drinking plenty of liquids also works as one of the home remedies for a sore throat. Cold water and ice pops, and hot decaffeinated tea with honey, all soothe a sore throat. Water, tea, or ice pops also prevents dehydration caused by throat irritation. Gargling with a warm water and salt solution, and then spitting it out, also treats a sore throat. Doctors recommend mixing 1 teaspoon (approximately 5 mL) of salt with an 8 oz. glass (approximately 236 mL) of warm water every hour.
Over-the-counter home remedies for a sore throat also help to reduce fever and minimize the pain. Lozenges that come in a variety of flavors can dull sore throat pain when taken at least every couple of hours. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen also help to reduce pain and fever, particularly if the sore throat was caused by the common cold or the flu. Home remedies for a sore throat may be considered for symptoms caused by strep or tonsillitis, but these conditions usually require a doctor's prescription. If the sore throat remains after one week and it comes with symptoms like a rash, nausea, or breathing problems, experts strongly recommend seeking emergency treatment.