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What Are the Treatments for a Sore Throat?

Most sore throats are caused by viruses, so antibiotics (drugs used to treat bacterial infections) won’t speed up your recovery. The exception is strep throat, which is caused by bacteria and needs a doctor’s attention. For a sore throat from a cold virus, there are several home remedies that may be just as effective as over-the-counter and prescription medicines.

Home Remedies for a Sore Throat

  • Get plenty of rest and drink a lot of fluids.
  • Gargle with warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt per glass of water).
  • Suck on throat lozenges or hard candy.
  • Suck on frozen treats such as Popsicles.
  • Use a humidifier.
  • Sip chicken broth or warm tea with honey.
  • Inhale steam. Run very hot water in a sink. With a towel draped over your head to trap the steam, lean over the sink while the hot water is running. Breathe deeply through your mouth and nose for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat several times a day.
  • Apply a warm heating pad or compress to your throat.
  • Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen for pain relief.