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7 Home Remedies To Get Rid of Sore Throat Fast

Medically Approved by Dr. Edward Salko

Table of Contents

The information in this article is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Instead, consult your physician or any licensed healthcare providers if you have medical questions to get personalized answers.

Sore throats cause great discomfort due to their pain and swelling that often impede your routine. In some cases, it comes with fever, fatigue, and appetite loss, which often warrants a visit to your doctor. But most sore throats simply require home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines for quick healing.

Below, we outline the natural substances and ways on how to get rid of a sore throat fast. Plus, signs that you should consult your healthcare provider. 

  1. Salt Water

Gargling salt water is one of the most popular go-to remedies for sore throat. 

All you have to do is mix and dissolve table salt at about ¼ to ½ teaspoon with four to eight ounces of warm water. 

You can prepare this antiseptic solution anytime, as salt and water are typically available in the kitchen. But aside from its simplicity and accessibility, not to mention the affordable cost, gargling salt water is also effective in soothing and eliminating the cause of infection. 

Gargling salt water solution helps kill sore throat fast at home.

Gargling salt water solution helps kill sore throat fast at home. 

Why it works 

Salt contains antimicrobial properties1. When consumed in sufficient amounts, it can reduce the water content of bacterial cells, which kills off the pathogen or causative agent of the infection. 

  1. Honey 

Honey is another effective remedy that soothes your throat, accelerates healing, and kills sore throat infections fast. 

You can combine two tablespoons of honey with warm water. If you want to enhance its soothing and healing effects, not to mention taste, then mix it with tea. 

Honey mixed with warm water or tea can help soothe a sore throat 

Why it works 

Many studies can back up the antimicrobial properties found in honey. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health shows that the phenolic acids and other organic compounds2 in honey help eliminate microbes that cause infections. 

  1. Herbal Teas

Teas have a relaxing effect, especially on the throat–and this is more evident if you have throat inflammation. Likewise, drinking tea also keeps your throat hydrated, which helps in the healing process. 

Any sort of tea that fits your preference can help kill sore throat fast at home. 

Why it works 

Herbal teas3 like peppermint, chamomile, green tea, licorice root, and black tea have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce pain and swelling. Its direct contact with the tissues lining the throat helps eliminate the throat infection and relaxes the inflamed area. 

  1. Lemon 

The acidity of the lemon and its high concentration of vitamin C make it the perfect home remedy for sore throat and other irritations in the upper respiratory system. 

Drinking saturated lemon juice can aid in disintegrating mucus buildup in your throat. This clears the passageway of air and food. In addition, lemon shrinks the mucus making it easier to let it out of your system. 

Why it works 

The citrus goodness of lemon is delicious as it is beneficial for fixing sore throat quickly. Lemon juice alone helps reduce swelling, especially since it contains anti-inflammatory properties providing quick relief for your sore throat. 

Pro tip: In the absence of lemons, you can consider other citrus fruits, like lime, orange, and grapefruit–all of which have high vitamin C levels that strengthen your immune system. Make sure to mix them with water to tone down the acidity that can further irritate the swelling.
  1. Ginger

With a sore throat, drinking ginger tea or ginger water can immediately soothe the pain and swelling. You can buy ginger-infused drinks or simply mix several slices of ginger with hot water. 

Ginger tea home remedy for sore throat

Why it works 

Ginger has therapeutic properties 4 that help regulate inflammation. It contains substances that block the protein that induces pain and itchiness.  In addition, it has phenolic compounds that aid in getting rid of sore throat caused by viral infection. 

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar 

Much like a salt solution, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is also a staple substance in many homes. 

To help you get rid of a sore throat fast, mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a cup of warm water. Gargle the solution repeatedly. 

You can combine the ACV solution with honey and lemon to boost its soothing effect. Make sure to gargle it while it’s warm enough to relax your throat. 

Why it works 

Apple cider vinegar isn’t exactly the most delicious home remedy for sore throat. Still, it remains effective, mainly because it has antimicrobial properties5 that help fight off bacterial or viral pathogens. 

Moreover, the acidity in the apple cider vinegar breaks down the mucus clearing the pathway for oxygen. 

  1. Cool-mist Humidifier 

Often, a dry throat is a painful throat. That said, ensuring your throat is moist by regulating humidity in your immediate environment aids in soothing a sore throat caused by an infection. To do this, use a cool-mist humidifier in your room, especially when you’re resting. 

Why it works 

Low humidity may irritate your nasal cavity and throat passage. Hence, using a cool-mist humidifier can help provide sufficient moisture in the air, which can prevent and alleviate a swollen throat. 

  1. Steam Inhalation

Inhaling steam, either from a vaporizer or a bowl of hot water, is a traditional way to help unclog a stuffy nose or alleviate a swollen throat. 

It’s also a perfect alternative if you don’t have a humidifier, as it provides moist air. 

To perform steam inhalation, heat a large batch of water and bring it to a boil. Transfer the hot water to a big bowl. While covering your head and face with a towel, lean over the bowl close enough to come in contact with the steam. Breathe the steam repeatedly within two to five minutes. 

A man inhaling steam to relieve his sore throat fast

Why it works

Mucus buildup typically accompanies a sore throat. Steam inhalation softens or loosens mucus and aids greatly with decongestion. This, in turn, provides relief to a throat with notable swelling.

  1.  Frozen Popsicles or Ice Chips

Consuming ice chips or popsicles can numb a painful and swollen throat. Prepare small ice cubes or chips you can swallow and melt in the lower part of your mouth. 

If you prefer a frozen popsicle, make sure it’s unsweetened or unflavored. Keep in mind that sweets or sugary edibles can irritate the throat further. 

Why it works

The cooling effect can alleviate the inflammation of the affected areas. It also reduces the reactivity of the nerves, which regulates the pain signals. 

  1. Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is probably the ultimate home remedy for colds, not to mention the most delicious option on this list. A warm chicken soup contains different ingredients that soothe an inflamed throat and boost your body’s immunity. 

You can choose to prepare chicken soup from scratch or buy ready-made options if you don’t have the time. Make sure to add the key ingredients, such as the stock or chicken broth, shredded meat, celery, carrots, garlic, and onion. 

A bowl of chicken soup to fix sore throat fast

Why it works

The warmth from the chicken soup rejuvenates and helps fix an inflamed throat. On top of that, many ingredients of the soup, including garlic and onion, also contain anti-inflammatory properties and compounds that help eliminate infections. It also provides hydration and enough salt content to combat microbial pathogens. 

Over-the-Counter Medicines for Sore Throat

If you want to quickly relieve yourself from a painful throat, consider combining the home remedies above with OTC medications. These medicines are designed to alleviate sore throat quickly and promote faster healing, especially for common causes. 

  • Lozenges: These medicated candies have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory substances that lubricate your throat, halt coughing, albeit temporarily, and soothe the sore tissues. 
  • Pain medicine: You can take common pain medications like Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil) to deal with the discomfort of a sore throat. Keep in mind, however, that you should have prior consultation with your doctor regarding the impact of these painkillers, specifically ibuprofen. People with heart or kidney disease may need to consider other safer options.   
  • Throat spray: This handy sore throat reliever can help fight off infection and regulate the inflammation in the pharyngeal lining. 
  • Sore throat pops: These are pretty much the popsicle version of lozenges. But it could be preferable for some in that it comes with added ingredients like honey and fruit flavoring. Sore throat pops are easily the best options for kids. 
Did You Know? A sore throat can have a specific area where the pain and swelling concentrate. If it’s affecting the tonsils, then it is referred to as tonsillitis. But if it causes inflammation behind the mouth, then it’s pharyngitis. On the other hand, if the larynx or the voice box is affected, the sore throat is due to laryngitis

When To See a Doctor About Your Sore Throat

While sore throat can go away on its own, if it is accompanied by other symptoms, then you may want to consult your doctor. 

If you have a sore throat with a fever for more than two days, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. 

Sure, home remedies can provide temporary relief, but it is crucial to understand that sore throat is generally a symptom of infection. Hence, getting rid of the infection also results in getting rid of a sore throat fast. 

Your doctor will most likely order a throat culture. In some cases, specific blood tests will also be requested. For example, if your doctor suspects infectious mononucleosis, you may have to take a CMV (cytomegalovirus) Blood Test.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What kills a sore throat fast overnight?

Getting rid of a sore throat fast overnight requires a combination of home remedies, provided that it’s not caused by a severe infection. For example, it’s recommended to take plenty of rest, abstain from speaking and eating food that can irritate your throat, as well as drinking or gargling substances that kill off the sore throat infection. 

What are the main causes of a sore throat?

Sore throats are directly linked with infections. Your sore throat can be due to viral or bacterial infection triggered by dry pain, injury, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), or allergies. 

Bacterial infections causing sore throat are also widespread, with the Streptococcus bacteria being the primary culprit. Likewise, sore throat is a common symptom of viral diseases such as influenza, mononucleosis, common cold, measles, chickenpox, and mumps. 

What to eat if you have a sore throat?

Chicken soup is our top recommended food to eat if you have a sore throat. You can also consider other types of soup, mashed potatoes, smoothies, and herbal teas. Try to avoid food and drinks that can irritate your throat, like alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeinated beverages. 

The Bottom Line

It’s no picnic having a sore throat. Not to mention you can’t enjoy anything from a picnic since you can’t eat comfortably. Nevertheless, if you wake up with a sore throat, it’s essential to prepare the most accessible remedy there is to help you ease the pain and swelling. In most cases, gargling salt water is your only, if not the best, option for quick relief against sore throat.

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