A sore throat can be a real pain. Sore throats make it hard to talk and swallow, and they’re very common during cold and flu season. For some infections that cause sore throats (like strep throat), you’ll need to see a doctor and take antibiotics. But sore throats often heal on their own — and you can take steps to soothe a sore throat at home. Try these eight simple home remedies.
1. Stay Hydrated
To fight a dry throat, make sure to drink plenty of fluids. This will moisten your throat and keep your whole body hydrated at the same time. Water is always a good choice, but try to limit drinks with caffeine and alcohol — these can have a dehydrating effect.
2. Try Hot and Cold Drinks
Some people find relief from drinking hot beverages like broth or herbal tea. Try adding honey to your tea for even more soothing power. Other people prefer icy cold drinks to numb the pain of a sore throat — ice cubes and popsicles can work well for this. You can try alternating hot and cold drinks and see what works best for you.
3. Gargle with Salt Water
Try stirring half a teaspoon of table salt into a cup of warm water. Gargle with it at the back of your throat and then spit it out. This can provide instant relief for a painful throat. Repeat this every three hours until your throat feels better.
4. Heal with Humidity
Turning on a humidifier can help to moisten the air you’re breathing in — and that helps ease the dryness and irritation of a sore throat. If you don’t have a humidifier handy, try taking a shower to breathe in the steam from the hot water.
5. Fix the Drip
If your sore throat is caused by nasal congestion and postnasal drip, try using a saline nasal spray or a saline nasal irrigation system to clear out your nasal passages.
6. Get Relief with Lozenges
Lozenges (also called cough drops) aren’t just for cough symptoms. They can also help to moisten and soothe a sore throat. You can find these lozenges at the grocery or drugstore.
7. Consider Over-the-Counter Medicines
Over-the-counter pain relievers can help with throat pain. You can also find sprays at the drugstore to help numb your throat. Just make sure to ask your doctor before taking a new medicine, and follow all the label instructions to use medicines safely.
8. Rest Up and Avoid Triggers
To heal a sore throat, your body needs plenty of rest. While you’re resting up, make sure your home is free from irritating things that could make a sort throat worse, like smoke, dust or fumes. And if you’re having trouble sleeping, check out these relaxing podcasts to help you rest.