Regardless of the cause of your sore throat, these at-home care strategies can help you ease your symptoms:
- Rest. And rest your voice.
- Drink fluids. Fluids keep the throat moist and prevent dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
- Try comforting foods and beverage. Warm liquids — broth, caffeine-free tea or warm water with honey — and cold treats such as ice pops can soothe a sore throat.
- Gargle with saltwater. A saltwater gargle of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of table salt to 4 to 8 ounces of warm water can help soothe a sore throat. Gargle the solution and then spit it out.
- Humidify the air. Use a cool-air humidifier to eliminate dry air that may further irritate a sore throat or sit for several minutes in a steamy bathroom.
- Consider lozenges or hard candy. Either can soothe a sore throat, but don't give them to children age 4 and younger because of choking risk.
- Avoid irritants. Keep your home free from cigarette smoke and cleaning products that can irritate the throat.
The best way to prevent sore throats is to avoid the germs that cause them and practice good hygiene. Follow these tips and teach your child to do the same:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after using the toilet, before eating, and after sneezing or coughing.
- Avoid sharing food, drinking glasses or utensils.
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it away. When necessary, sneeze into your elbow.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers as an alternative to washing hands when soap and water aren't available.
- Avoid touching public phones or drinking fountains with your mouth.
- Regularly clean telephones, TV remotes and computer keyboards with sanitizing cleanser. When you travel, clean phones and remotes in your hotel room.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.