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Sore throats occur for many reasons, such as colds, allergies, and infections caused by viruses or bacteria. In any case, your throat becomes red and sore. Your goal for self-care is to reduce your discomfort while giving your throat a chance to heal.
Try a sip of water first thing after waking up.
Keep your throat moist by drinking 6 or more glasses of clear liquids every day.
Run a cool-air humidifier in your room overnight.
Suck on throat lozenges, cough drops, hard candy, ice chips, or frozen fruit-juice bars.
Gargling every hour or two can ease irritation. Try gargling with one of these solutions:
1/4 teaspoon of salt in 1/2 cup of warm water
An over-the-counter anesthetic gargle
Over-the-counter medication can reduce sore throat symptoms. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medication to use.
Ease pain with anesthetic sprays. Aspirin or an aspirin substitute also helps. Remember, never give aspirin to anyone 18 or younger.
For sore throats caused by allergies, try antihistamines to block the allergic reaction.
Remember: unless a sore throat is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics won’t help you.
Stop smoking or reduce contact with secondhand smoke. Smoke irritates the tender throat lining.
Limit contact with pets and with allergy-causing substances such as pollen and mold.
When you’re around someone with a sore throat or cold, wash your hands frequently to keep viruses or bacteria from spreading.
Don’t strain your vocal cords.
A temperature over 101.0°F
White spots on the throat
Great difficulty swallowing
A skin rash
Recent exposure to someone else with strep bacteria
Severe hoarseness and swollen glands in the neck or jaw