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How do I treat sore throat?

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How to treat a sore threat:

Take zinc. If you have a cold, some studies show that you can ease symptoms if you take zinc lozenges every 2 hours. They seem to work best if you start to use them within 48 hours after you get sick.

Gargle with salt water. Swish warm, salty water in the back of your throat a few times a day to bring down swelling and ease pain. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon in 1/2 cup of warm water.

  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Acetaminophen or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen can take the edge off many cold symptoms, including your sore throat. Make sure you follow the directions on the label. If you have other medical problems or take other meds, check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter drugs.
  • Deal with your nasal symptoms. Mucus from your sinuses can drain into your throat, adding to its soreness. If you have a runny nose or you're stuffed up, an over-the-counter decongestant or antihistamine may help.
  • If hay fever is causing mucus to drip into your throat, allergy treatments will ease your soreness, too.
  • Try a throat spray. Over-the-counter versions of these numbing products can help. Herbal sprays with echinacea and sage may also make you feel better.

SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: "Sore Throats."

National Institutes of Health, News In Health: "Soothing a Sore Throat."

Mount Sinai Hospital: "Sore Throat."

University of Maryland Medical Center: "Peppermint."

Mossad, S. 1996. Annals of Internal Medicine,

WholeHealth Chicago: The Center for Integrative Medicine.

Thomas, M. October 2000. British Journal of General Practice,

Schapowal, A. 2009. European Journal of Medical Research,

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2019

SOURCES:

American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: "Sore Throats."

National Institutes of Health, News In Health: "Soothing a Sore Throat."

Mount Sinai Hospital: "Sore Throat."

University of Maryland Medical Center: "Peppermint."

Mossad, S. 1996. Annals of Internal Medicine,

WholeHealth Chicago: The Center for Integrative Medicine.

Thomas, M. October 2000. British Journal of General Practice,

Schapowal, A. 2009. European Journal of Medical Research,

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on May 15, 2019

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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