Soothing A Sore Throat

It's there when you wake up or sneaks up on you in the middle of the day --that annoying sore throat that is oh-so-common this time of year.  Your throat feels scratchy and may hurt when you swallow. What can you do to soothe a sore throat? And when is it a sign of a more serious infection?  Here are a few tips to help relieve a sore throat:

  • Try hot tea with lemon or some hot soup.
  • Keep your throat moist with lozenges or hard candies.
  • Gargle with warm salt water or use ice chips.
  • Cold liquids or popsicles can numb the pain. Throat sprays and over-the-counter pain relievers can help, too.
  • Use a humidifier or vaporizer, especially when sleeping, to keep air from getting too dry.
  • If the sore throat persists for several days, it's time to get it checked out.

Contact a doctor if your sore throat is severe, doesn’t feel better after a few days, or is accompanied by a high fever or swollen glands. These symptoms could be signs of a bacterial infection, such as strep throat.

The best way to protect yourself from the germs that cause these infections is to wash your hands often. Try to steer clear of people who have colds or other contagious infections. And avoid smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke, which can irritate your throat.

What are your sore throat tips and how do you avoid illness this time of year?  Share your tips in the comments section.


  1. Excellent, common sense advice! I also advise patients in my pharmacy to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, if the pain is not relieved by the above. They usually have these in the home, so no need for them to spend additional money. If is confirmed strep, I also advise putting the whole family’s toothbrushes in the top rack of the dishwasher, or replacing the toothbrushes.

    All the best to my nursing friends!

    Tom Keogh

  2. Start cleaning odd things, like door knobs, light switches, walls by the door that often are leaned on, steering wheels, gear shift, shopping carts for sure. Open public restroom doors to go out by using your just used paper towel. The fridge and oven and dishwasher handles, the faucets, I sanitize my dishwater too, with a bit of bleach. And I try to not get myself too worn out.

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