Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

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 taken an antibiotic for at least 24 hours.
  • Drink plenty of water. Keeping a sore throat lubricated and moist eases swallowing and helps prevent dehydration.
  • Eat soothing foods. Easy-to-swallow foods include broths, soups, applesauce, cooked cereal, mashed potatoes, soft fruits, yogurt and soft-cooked eggs. You can puree foods in a blender to make them easier to swallow. 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 (1.42 grams) 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. 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. Avoid fumes from paint or cleaning products, which can irritate throat sand lungs.

Prevention

To prevent strep infection:

  • Clean your hands. Proper hand cleaning is the best way to prevent all kinds of infections. That's why it's important to clean your own hands regularly and to teach your children how to clean their hands properly using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth. Teach your children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.
  • Don't share personal items. Don't share drinking glasses or eating utensils. Wash dishes in hot, soapy water or in a dishwasher.