Sore Throat Home Remedies

Soothing Your Throat With Honey and Other Tips

Young woman with sore throat
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Sore throats can be quite painful and finding effective remedies isn't always easy. Learn some helpful tips for soothing that sore throat and find out when you need to seek medical attention instead of treating it yourself.

Do You Need Medical Attention for Your Sore Throat?

Most sore throats are caused by the common cold or the flu, but they can be caused by conditions that need treatment, including strep throat and other serious infections.

Strep throat must be treated with antibiotics to prevent very serious complications such as rheumatic fever.

If you have these symptoms, you will need to see your healthcare provider so he can determine what course of treatment is best for you:

  • Strep throat symptoms include fever, headache, joint pain or muscle aches, skin rashes, or swollen lymph nodes in your neck.
  • If your sore throat lasts for more than a few days or is so severe that it is difficult to swallow, you should see your healthcare provider.
  • If your throat hurts so badly that you have difficulty opening your mouth wide or it is significantly more painful on one side of your throat than the other, seek medical attention right away.
  • If you are having difficulty breathing, call 911 or go to the closest emergency room. This could be a life-threatening situation.

Home Remedies for Sore Throat

To soothe your sore throat at home, you can use these remedies:

  • Pain Medications: Taking pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) can help relieve the pain of a sore throat. Aspirin may help for adults but should never be given to children under 18.
  • Warm Drinks and Soups: Drinking warm drinks or eating broth-based soup is an effective sore throat remedy that has been used for many years. It turns out grandma knew what she was doing when she made that chicken soup!
  • Honey in Hot Tea or Hot Water: Honey is a natural and effective way to soothe a sore throat. Many people drink hot tea with honey or simply dissolve honey in hot water to get relief. A little lemon juice can also be added. Honey can coat the throat, relieving pain and irritation temporarily. Because the effects can be short-lived, you may need to drink it several times throughout the day to get relief. However, honey should never be given to a child under 12 months old as it may contain botulism spores, which are not a danger to older children or adults. A warm drink with honey can be given to children over a year old as long as they are old enough to drink warm liquids.

  • Cold Foods and Drinks: Ice water, popsicles, ice cream, and milkshakes are also effective sore throat remedies, just as warm ones are.
  • Warm Salt Water Gargle: Adults and older children can soothe a sore throat by gargling several times a day with warm salt water. To create the right mixture, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon salt in one cup of warm water.

  • Hard Candies or Throat Lozenges: Older children (over about 8 years old) and adults can suck on hard candies or throat lozenges to help relieve the pain of a sore throat.
  • Humidifier: Running a humidifier is another effective sore throat remedy. It puts extra moisture in the air and will help prevent your throat from getting too dry, especially at night.

    A Word From Verywell

    If you are suffering from the common cold, you'll be able to soothe your sore throat at home. Be alert for fever and signs of strep throat or other diseases that need medical attention.