Sore throats can be caused by bacteria or viruses. Most require no medical intervention, and will go away within 2 to 3 days. Here are a few tips to make a sore throat go away even quicker.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- Cough drops
- Mint mouthwash or salt water
- Toothbrush and paste
- Throat Lozenges
- Chicken Broths
- Fruit Juices
- Ice cream, sherbets and popsicles
- Throat Sprays
- Crushed Ice
- Drinking Straws
Consider the cause: a bug that's going around the office, enthusiastic cheering, or perhaps something more serious, such as strep throat. There are instant strep throat test strips that can tell you in less than 30 minutes if you have strep throat. Be aware, though, that these strips sometimes deliver false negatives.
Take an analgesic to reduce inflammation; aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen for an adult, or acetaminophen or ibuprofen for children, as recommended by your doctor.
Suck on throat lozenges if you are an adult, especially those containing menthol, benzocaine or phenol, which numb the throat. Zinc lozenges may also be helpful. Children should suck on cough drops or hard candy.
Gargle with mint mouthwash or salt water.
Spray a throat spray containing numbing agents into the back of your throat, if you're an adult.
Brush your tongue. Sometimes, removing the buildup on your tongue can lessen the soreness in your throat.
Rinse your toothbrush in mouthwash between brushings to kill bacteria.
Drink ice-cold beverages. Try filling a glass half-full of crushed ice; then pour fruit juice over the ice. Let it sit for 10 minutes, insert a straw and suck slowly, letting the juice rest a minute on the back of your throat.
Add moisture to your environment with a humidifier or vaporizer, or sit in a steamy shower or bath.
Eat soft or liquid foods, especially sherbets and chicken broth.
Avoid cigarette smoke and other airborne irritants.
Tips and warnings
- Ask your pharmacist to recommend a good lozenge or throat spray.
- For a severe sore throat accompanied by fever, difficulty swallowing or breathing, a red rash or coughing up of brown sputum, see your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
- Contact a doctor if you have a sore throat that keeps you from being able to swallow.
- Check young children for drooling. Drooling indicates trouble swallowing, which can lead to difficulty in breathing and requires immediate medical attention.