Lifestyle and home remedies

By Mayo Clinic Staff

In most cases, antibiotics will quickly wipe out the bacteria causing the infection. In the meantime, try these tips to relieve symptoms of strep throat:

  • Get plenty of rest. Sleep helps your body fight infection. If you have strep throat, stay home from work if you can. If your child is ill, keep him or her at home until there's no sign of fever and he or she feels better and has completed a minimum of 24 hours of antibiotic therapy.
  • Drink plenty of water. Keeping a sore throat lubricated and moist eases swallowing. Drinking plenty of water also helps prevent dehydration.
  • Eat soothing foods. Foods that are easy on a sore throat include broths, soups, applesauce, cooked cereal, mashed potatoes, soft fruits, yogurt and soft-cooked eggs. You may even want to puree foods in the blender to make them easier to swallow. Very cold foods such as sherbet, frozen yogurt or frozen fruit pops also may be soothing. Avoid spicy foods or acidic foods such as orange juice.
  • Gargle with warm salt water. For older children and adults, gargling several times a day can help relieve throat pain. Mix 1/4 teaspoon (1.2 milliliters) of table salt in 8 ounces (237 milliliters) of warm water. Be sure to tell your child to spit out the liquid after gargling.
  • Use a humidifier. Adding moisture to the air can help ease discomfort. Moisture keeps mucous membranes in your throat from becoming dry and even more irritated. Choose a cool-mist humidifier and clean it daily, because bacteria and molds can flourish in some humidifiers. Saline nasal sprays also help to keep mucous membranes moist.
  • Stay away from irritants. Cigarette smoke can irritate a sore throat and increase the likelihood of infections such as tonsillitis. In addition, avoid fumes from paint or cleaning products, which can be irritating to your throat and lungs.
  • Plan low-key activities for a sick child. If your child tests positive for strep throat, he or she should take antibiotics for at least 24 hours before returning to school or child care. When staying home with your child, plan some low-key activities that you both can enjoy.
Dec. 20, 2012

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