Sore throats (pharyngitis) are among the most common health ailments, especially during the winter. They are typically caused by infections like the common cold, flu and strep throat. While they can be quite painful, they often go away within a week.
Can’t make it a week? Find relief for your sore throat now with these helpful at-home remedies.
1. Gargling with Salt Water
While salt water may not provide you with immediate relief, it is still an effective remedy for killing bacteria while loosening mucus and easing pain. Simply mix half a teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water and gargle away.
2. Honey For a Sore Throat
“Honey is one of the best remedies for a sore throat due to its natural antibacterial properties that allow it to act as a wound healer, immediately offering relief for pain while working to reduce inflammation. Honey can also kill bacteria and help fight off viral infections,” explains Charlotte Smith, MD, physician at Penn Medicine Urgent Care South Philadelphia.
If you’re suffering from a bad cough in addition to your sore throat, honey may also act as an effective cough suppressant. Mix two tablespoons of honey in with a warm glass of water or tea and stir it well. Drink several times a day as needed.
It’s important to note that honey should not be given to infants under the age of one.
3. Lemon to Boost The Immune System
Similar to salt water and honey, lemons are great for sore throats because they can help break up mucus and provide pain relief. What’s more, lemons are packed with vitamin C which can help to boost the immune system and give it more power to fight off your infection. Mix one teaspoon of lemon juice into a glass of warm water and drink for quick relief.
4. Hot Sauce for Quick Pain Relief
It may sound strange to use hot sauce to relieve a fiery throat, but this condiment has actually been proven to provide relief for sore throats. Hot sauce is made from peppers that are high in capsaicin, which can be used to fight inflammation and provide pain relief. So, while it may burn at first, dropping a few drops of hot sauce into a warm glass of water to gargle may just be the right remedy to cure your sore throat.
5. Best Type of Tea for a Sore Throat
There are many different kinds of herbal teas you can try for quick sore throat relief. Clove tea and green tea both contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to fight against infections while providing relief. Raspberry, chamomile, and peppermint tea are great choices for relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Chamomile tea can also serve as a natural lubricant, so if your voice is hoarse and you’re having difficulty speaking, this may be your best option. Additionally, peppermint tea can naturally numb your throat and alleviate your pain. When choosing the best tea for your sore throat, you may also want to check the caffeine content.
“When recovering from an illness, it’s important to rest. If you’re getting ready to sleep, it may be best to go with non-caffeinated tea,” recommends Dr. Smith.
6. Humidifier to Open the Sinuses
If you’ve noticed an increase in the number of sore throats you’ve had this season, then it may be time to invest in a humidifier. Dry air, especially during the harsh, cold days of winter, may be the cause of your sore throat. A humidifier will keep the air moist and open your sinuses. Add in a tablespoon or two of vapor rub or hydrogen peroxide solution to provide additional relief.
What to Avoid with a Sore Throat
While all of these remedies have been shown to ease sore throat pain, there are some items you may want to avoid.
“If you have a sore throat, I recommend avoiding any foods that may be difficult to swallow. I suggest sticking to soups and soft foods until the sore throat pain has resolved,” says Dr. Smith.
“If you’ve tried at-home remedies and they do not seem to be helping, schedule an appointment with your physician right away. You should also seek treatment from your doctor if your sore throat is accompanied by a fever, chills, difficulty swallowing, or if you are unable to drink fluids, as this could be a sign of a more serious illness.”