Cold Home > Sore Throat Remedies

If you have a sore throat, it doesn't always mean that you need a prescription medication. For instance, if your throat infection is caused by a virus, then it should improve on its own within a few days. In the meantime, there are some remedies that can help with a sore throat. Some of these include pain medicines (such as Tylenol or Advil), oral rinses, throat sprays, and natural therapies.

Help! I Need a Sore Throat Remedy

Everyone has had a sore throat. The good news is that most sore throats are caused by an infection with a virus. With time (about two to five days), these throat infections typically improve on their own, without the need for antibiotics. While the body fights the infection, home treatments can be used to decrease symptoms.
 

Specific Home Remedies for a Sore Throat

Getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids are the first recommendations for treating a sore throat caused by a virus. Other options for decreasing symptoms include:
 
  • Pain medicines
  • Oral rinses
  • Throat lozenges
  • Throat sprays
  • Decongestants
  • Natural therapies
  • Other options.
     
Pain Medications
Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers are quite effective in treating throat pain and fever. This includes acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Aleve®). Aspirin products should not be used in children under the age of 18 because of the risk of Reye syndrome.
 
Oral Rinses
The old standby in many families is the salt-water gargle. It is not known whether it is effective, but it is unlikely to cause harm. Put ½ a teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Gargle the water for 10 seconds, and then spit it out.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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