Soothing a Sore Throat
The unpleasant, scratchy feeling that you sometimes get in your throat is most often caused by a virus and strikes when you have a cold or the flu. Viral sore throats usually occur with a stuffy, runny nose; sneezing; and body aches and pains. Unlike bacterial sore throats — such as strep throat — viral sore throats cannot be treated with antibiotics.
Tips for Self-Care
For a mild sore throat, try these self-care strategies:
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
- Drink liquids. Gargling with warm salt water may help.
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
- Suck on throat lozenges or frozen desserts.
Signs that Should Arouse More Concern
If your sore throat is severe and lasts longer than 10 days — or comes with the following symptoms — be sure to see your doctor:
- White patches on your tonsils or in the back of your throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
- Fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Difficulty breathing, swallowing, or opening your mouth