Sore throats are a common and usually minor ailment. Even though they’re temporary, a sore throat can make it difficult to sleep, talk, or even eat because it hurts to swallow. If your toddler or school-aged child has a sore throat, they can be cranky and irritable.
Board-certified otolaryngologist Nilesh Patel, MD specializes in ear, nose, and throat disorders. Dr. Patel can promptly determine if your sore throat requires a prescription medication.
There are a number of reasons for sore throats. While allergies and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause them, most sore throats are caused by the common cold or flu, which are viral infections. When that’s the case, home remedies and over-the-counter medications help ease your symptoms. Antibiotics don’t work at all on viral infections.
However, if you or your loved one has a high fever, white spots on your throat, and/or swollen glands, call our office immediately. You likely have a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics.
Following are some great tips for calming sore throat pain. Some are remedies that have been handed down for generations.
Gargle with warm salt water
Gargling is one of the best things you can do for a sore throat, and it’s an all-natural remedy. Stir one-half teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water and gargle every few hours throughout the day.
Gargling with salt water helps break up the extra mucus in your mouth and throat. The saline solution may help rid you of the cold virus. Salt is a cleansing agent. It helps remove bacteria and viruses from your throat and mouth when you spit out the solution.
Consume warm or cold liquids
If your sore throat comes with the congestion and stuffy nose of a cold or the flu, you need to release the congestion to avoid a sinus infection. Excess mucus builds up in the mucous membranes in your sinus cavities and can drip down your throat, further irritating it. Drinking liquids helps clear the mucus.
Keep your throat hydrated by sipping on warm drinks like tea with lemon and honey or taking spoonfuls of chicken soup. If you prefer cold drinks, they can work too. Sucking on ice chips or having ice water at hand and sipping it frequently can help. Frozen popsicles work well if your child has a sore throat. It’s an unscheduled treat that may help dry some tears.
Use a humidifier or steam vaporizer
Place a humidifier or steam vaporizer in your room at night to increase the moisture in the air. When you have a cold, you may end up sleeping with your mouth open in order to breathe. If you do, your throat is really dry in the morning, making your sore throat feel worse.
Increasing the humidity in the room can help ease your symptoms. One caveat: Ensure your child isn’t able to touch the steam vaporizer, as it contains hot water.
Use lozenges or hard candies
Keep a stash of throat lozenges or hard candy nearby. They can really help when you start to get the tickle in the back of your throat from post-nasal drip that produces tears and won’t go away.
Over-the-counter pain relievers
Acetaminophen or other over-the-counter relievers like ibuprofen can help ease sore throat discomfort. Pair it with some of the other remedies.
Call the office of Nilesh Patel, MD or book a same-day appointment through our online portal for all of your ear, nose, and throat concerns.