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Sore throat remedies

Sore throats are common in children, teenagers and adults. Depending on what's caused the sore throat, they usually don't need any specific medical treatment. However, home care can help soothe the symptoms.

Seek medical advice if a sore throat is causing difficulty with breathing, swallowing, producing high-pitched breath sounds or a lot of discomfort.

A GP may prescribe antibiotics for a sore throat if they think it is due to a more serious infection.


Painkillers can help relieve the symptoms of a sore throat. These include over-the-counter painkillers, such as age-appropriate paracetamol or ibuprofen. Aspirin should never be given to children under 16.

Soothing a sore throat

Home remedies that can help soothe a sore throat include:

  • Salt water gargle
  • Sucking sweets, lozenges, ice lollies or ice cubes
  • Drinking plenty of cool or warm drinks, including warm soup
  • Warm honey and lemon drinks.

Don't irritate a sore throat

Things to avoid with a sore throat include:

  • Food and drink that's too hot
  • Smoking or secondhand smoke
  • Steam inhalation – while this can be good for colds, hot steam can scald a sore throat.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on February 24, 2015

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