Throat

How to Get Rid of a Throat Infection

A throat infection can be a nasty business – a lot of the time, it seems like the more you cough, the worse it gets. Throat infections are usually caused by a virus, but can also be caused by a bacterial infection that is made worse with a slight injury to the mucous membranes in your throat.

Since throat infections are contagious, it can be frustrating to come down with one when someone in your household, school, or workplace has the illness. Here are a handful of home remedies for sore throat and throat infections if you ever find yourself with a dry, scratchy throat and a cough that won’t let up.

** Medical note: if your sore throat persists and/or is extremely painful, even after a few days to a week, you should see your doctor. Your persistent sore throat could be a symptom of a more serious illness.

1. Drink plenty of liquids.

You should be drinking lots of water anyway, but this is especially true when you’ve got a throat infection. Keeping your body hydrated will fight off the infection quicker (especially with natural, vitamin C-rich juices such as orange juice), and will soothe the swollenness of your throat. Stay away from coffee and drink tea instead, as coffee dehydrates you.

Another excellent drink to soothe your throat and help speed up the healing process is honey and lemon juice – mix the juice of a lemon with two teaspoons of honey into a cup of warm water. Adding a little bit of cinnamon helps with the bitter taste.
The best times to drink this are before you go to bed and when you wake up.

Especially when you go to bed – if you sleep with your mouth open, the dryness in the air can worsen your sore throat, so it helps to make sure your throat is moisturized and hydrated before going to sleep.

2. Gargle water with salt.

The simplest tip on this list, salt and water is an effective method for both cleaning and soothing your sore throat. All you need to do is mix a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle it – make sure it hits the back of your throat, though.

When you do this, the salt will cleanse the irritation in your throat and soothe the area. You may also find it helps to boil a few basil leaves in with a few cups of water, let the hot water cool down, and mix in a teaspoon of salt. Basil has natural healing properties and will also further soothe the area affected by irritation.

3. Eat a soft diet for a few days.

Avoiding crunchy-textured or tough foods for a few days will prevent your throat from becoming any more irritated. Spicy, greasy, and rough-textured foods will further irritate your throat and make it take longer to heal. Try making smoothies or a pot of soup for healthy, easy-to-eat meals as you fight your throat infection.

Drinking hot or warm soup especially will help to both soothe your throat and give you the nutrients and vitamins necessary for fighting off a throat infection. Something like a sweet potato puree or a cream of celery soup would be ideal for this – these soups are soft, tasty, and very healthy.

4. Get lots of rest.

Resting well is the most important thing you can do with a throat infection, or any other illness or ailment for that matter – if your body is exhausted, it will not function properly, and this is especially true when fighting off a bacterial or viral infection.

You should make sure you’re getting roughly 8 hours of sleep a night, and, if possible, napping and laying down lots during the day. Plenty of sleep and relaxation will help your body bounce back quicker from the infection.

5. Suck on lozenges.

Lozenges, especially those with eucalyptus or lemon, are an excellent and quick reliever of throat infection irritation. You can get them anywhere, too – the gas station, grocery store, or convenience store near you should have plenty of different kinds of lozenges for you to try.

The only thing to make sure of when taking lozenges is that you do not suck them too hard – if you suck lozenges too often and too hard, it could irritate the roof of your mouth. This irritation is harmless, but probably the last thing you want on top of a frustrating throat infection.

6. Inhale steam – with a machine or the shower.

Sometimes it helps to inhale steam when you have a sore throat – this can be done with a personal steam inhaler or simply by taking a hot shower or bath and inhaling the steam for a while.

Be sure that if you are making steam for a sick child that you monitor the child at all times – too much steam and heat can lead to dizziness and fainting, especially for young children.

7. Use over-the-counter pain relief like ibuprofen.

Usually, the biggest problem with a throat infection is the pain it causes rather than the actual infection. Over-the-counter pain relief pills, such as ibuprofen, can help to relieve the pain of the throat inflammation, as well as reduce the swelling itself.

These kinds of medications will not actually affect the infection itself, but will effectively reduce the swelling and irritation you feel in your throat.

8. Local heat care.

It may also be beneficial to apply a heating pad around your neck and throat if the pain and inflammation is particularly bad. A heating pad will reduce the swelling, soothe your throat, and help to loosen up some of the mucous.

Generally speaking, a throat infection is harmless and will eventually clear on its own. That being said, you’ve got to make sure that you’re well hydrated, well rested, and are taking precautions to keep your throat infection soothed and keeping your diet healthy.

However, as mentioned in the medical note at the beginning of this article, if your problem persists for longer than a few days or a week, you may want to see your doctor. Your sore throat, if carried out for that long, could be symptomatic of a bigger health problem.

About the author

Nicole Harding

26 Comments

  • I got a throat infection two days time now, I want to knw how to get rid of it quickly, right now. Because tomorrow my friend is sleeping over my house tomorrow, i’m worried about my friend. I just got a fever, headache, throat sore, difficult to speak, cough, and Spot of yellow or green (I spit it out).

  • I’ve had a sore and swollen throat since Sunday night. I began taking penicillin on Monday, and it is now Wednesday. Unfortunately, I have not stopped smoking. If I top no, will it be better by Friday?

  • This really helped. I already knew what i had because i went to the doctor. This absoulutly sucks. I cant even sleep at night. i fall asleep at 9 and end up waking up at 1 or 2 in the morning and am up the rest of the time. I would take a sleeping pill but im pregnant and all i can have is tylenol with ACETAMINOPHEN. it relieves the pain for a short time but im so ready for it to get go away. Its only been 2 days and i read somewhere where it could take 2 WEEKS! to go away 🙁

  • I have been facing repeated throat infection for the past 12 years. I had get three time HIV Test result was negative. I am 32 year old. What I do? Please help me. During infection i take antibiotic and gargle liquid, it took 6-7 day to recover normal condition.

  • Had a sore throat for 4 days now, went to my doctor this morning, he told me i had a bad throat nfection,prescribed antibiotics 4 a day for ten days, told me if i didnt feel better by saturday to go back and he would send me to a E.N.T.I AM RINSING WITH SALT WATER

  • Grapefruit seed extract does nothing and is possibly harmful to expectant mothers I think. Don’t use it in any products.

  • IT has gone 4 days and i have no relief, i am even not able to drink water, doctor gave me 4 days medicine but no benefit, i will again do to doc tomorrow, can you tell me how long it takes to be good and i be able to eat or drink.

  • I had a sore throat that started on wednesday, i thought it would go away when i got the flu but it stayed and i kept taking sore throat and cough syrups to get rid of it and mouthwash too but the mouthwash only lasted 3 minutes and the pain came back 🙁 i am sooo mad , its been 5 days now and the infection started on Saturday and i went to doctor today and he gave me antibiotics ( 2 per day for 10 days) i amm soooo mad , i hate throat infection and im only 15, i hope it goes away soon. 🙁

  • I’m having my second throat infection within a relative short period of time. It took 9 days to recover the last one – why is it such a fucking slow process? The stage, in which one can’t drink or eat, has gotta be the most painful in history of man. It is surprising how you can wake up morning after morning with a tough consistent sky-high fever, that just won’t go away… I’m on day seven now, hope it will be over soon. I feel like a fuckin vegetable tied to the couch. Anyway, I wish you all good luck.

  • I’m afraid you’re just going to have to man up and let it run its course. It’s a viral infection – Drink plenty of water and if you need a bit of relief from that sore throat – drink some tea, and if you just feel down i find that a nice hot (and importantly, steamy) shower does the trick.

    Hope it clears up soon. Chris.

  • I would like to mention to parents with children who are sick with colds and flu like symptoms and including adults as well, if you are sick, Please stay at home until you feel better. Going to work or bringing children to the shoping malls and coughing and sneezing spreading germs to other people is plain stupid and inconsiderate. Just good sound advice.

  • I have pained since wednesday by throat infection,my doctor said it will take 3 days,but i can die with this pain,pls give me suggesition.i can not eat anything.

  • I have a viral infection on my tongue that will not go away for nothing. It has been months and no sign of it going away. I have red bumps that extend down into my throat on the tongue and some white stuff on the back of the tongue. Doctor did a culture, came back normal.. Said to just wait it out but its literally been months and months and months. What do i do??

  • My doctor says i have throat infection. he gave me cough syrup and some lozenges. i took them as it is. during the night i was sleeping i woke in the middle of the sleep found out that my throat is getting worse. its really hard to swallow. its in pain. i couldn’t stand in. the pain has spread to my neck area. around the windpipe there. this never happen to me before.

  • Hi im only nine years old and i have pain in my throut my mom told me shell take me a warm shower and make me hot tea but when we came back from the mall my mom told me i had a very high feaver and i looked super sick so i stayed home from school now its bean about 2-3 days and my throut has bothering me i dont know how to cure this can you help? 🙁

  • I’ve had a throat infection for about a week now. I’ve found that sucking on Strepsils helps an awful lot, as well as garggling warm salt water. Drinking warm liquids like tea also provides mild relief.

  • Im still getting better from it but I have to say salt water works but only take the pain away for a little while go to your doctor and it checked out I got an antibiotic and one for ibuprofen and im feeling like myself again

  • I have a throat infection and I have to say, it’s about staying home and resting, but it’s mostly about people teaching their children to COVER THEIR MOUTHS when sneezing and coughing. Why is it so had to teach your kids manners, so when they grow up they’ll teach their kids. You teach them how and you teach them why, that simple. It’s called keeping your germs to yourself. And also stop putting your personal items on places that contain germs such as the nasty ground or the floor of a bus. Try to keep all of yourself and items as clean as you can. Not only will this keep you healthier but make you stronger and able to endure more in life. Adults need to learn how to cover their mouths, you are not children anymore.

  • I have a throat infection and I have to say, it’s about staying home and resting, but it’s mostly about people teaching their children to COVER THEIR MOUTHS when sneezing and coughing. Why is it so had to teach your kids manners, so when they grow up they’ll teach their kids. You teach them how and you teach them why, that simple. It’s called keeping your germs to yourself. And also stop putting your personal items on places that contain germs such as the nasty ground or the floor of a bus. Try to keep all of yourself and items as clean as you can. Not only will this keep you healthier but make you stronger and able to endure more in life. Adults need to learn how to cover their mouths, you are not children anymore. Use your sleeves as a cover and not your hands…then you go touching the bus pools that you have infected…not coo

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