Pharyngitis is a sore throat. (Learn More – What Is Pharyngitis)
Pharyngitis can have many different causes. (Learn More – What Are Some of the Causes of Pharyngitis?)
The cause should be addressed as soon as possible. (Learn More – Treating a Sore Throat)
There are numerous at-home remedies that can ease the discomfort of a sore throat. (Learn More – Treating a Sore Throat)
Some of the more common approaches include the use of honey, a saltwater gargle, apple cider vinegar, a baking soda gargle, chamomile tea, peppermint oil spray, marshmallow root, licorice root, slippery elm, garlic supplements, or cayenne pepper. (Learn More – How to Treat a Sore Throat at Home)
Although some of these home remedies may ease the symptoms of a sore throat, they may not cure the underlying condition. Remember to see your doctor if you have a sore throat for an extended period of time. (Learn More – When to See a Doctor)
What Is Pharyngitis?
Technically, pharyngitis refers to inflammation of the pharynx, which is at the back of your throat.
Most sources refer to pharyngitis as simply a sore throat, which can include difficulty swallowing, scratchiness, and pain. It is a common occurrence.
What Are Some of the Causes of Pharyngitis?
There can be many potential causes of pharyngitis, including bacterial pharyngitis and viral pharyngitis. Potential causes of pharyngitis include:
- Several different types of bacterial or viral infections, including influenza, chickenpox, measles, whooping cough, the common cold, infectious mononucleosis, or A streptococcus (streptococcus infection)
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- Salty foods
Treating a Sore Throat
If you have a sore throat, the best approach is to treat the cause. This means seeing your doctor, finding out what’s causing your sore throat, and then getting proper medical treatment for the underlying condition.
A sore throat can be a sign of a serious issue. If you have a sore throat for more than a few days, you should see your doctor.
How to Treat a Sore Throat at Home
The American Osteopathic Association reports that a sore throat as a result of pharyngitis is one of the most common reasons people see their doctors in the United States. You are more likely to get pharyngitis during the colder months of the year, which correlate with cold and flu season.
Always see your doctor if you have a sore throat that lasts more than a few days or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever, coughing, and nasal congestion.
In addition to getting proper medical treatment, there are some home remedies that can reduce the discomfort associated with pharyngitis.
- Honey: Many people use honey, either mixed in tea or consumed by the spoonful, to address the discomfort associated with a sore throat. Honey may be an effective wound healer and may also reduce coughing.
- Saltwater gargle: Gargling with salt water may help to kill bacteria and reduce swelling of the throat. Typically, mixing a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water makes an efficient saltwater gargle.
- Baking soda: Gargling with baking soda and water, or a mixture of baking soda, water, and salt, is another common approach that can kill bacteria and relieve a sore throat. It may also prevent the growth of yeast in the throat, which may lead to a sore throat. Try using a cup of warm water, an eighth of a teaspoon of salt, and a quarter-teaspoon of baking soda.
- Apple cider vinegar: This approach may also kill bacteria and fight infections. Diluting one or two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in water and gargling it may help to relieve a sore throat. As with all these different gargles, you should repeat the process several times a day until your sore throat subsides. Other remedies include:
- Chamomile tea: This tea has a long history of use for medicinal purposes. Chamomile tea may be an antioxidant, have anti-inflammatory properties, and may stimulate the immune system. Drinking tea or even inhaling the steam from the tea are methods you can try.
- Peppermint oil sprays: Peppermint oil contains menthol, which can soothe sore throats. It may also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Marshmallow root: This natural remedy is reputed to contain a substance similar to mucus, which can soothe and coat a sore throat. It can be made into a tea by adding the dried root to boiling water and sipping.
- Licorice root: This is used as a gargle and has long been a home remedy to treat sore throats. Pregnant women should not use it.
- Slippery elm: This remedy may work similarly to marshmallow root. You can find slippery elm lozenges at some health food stores.
- Garlic: Regularly taking a garlic supplement may help to prevent the common cold, which could reduce your incidence of sore throats. One of the older remedies for sore throat was sucking on a garlic clove, but this may be a little strong for most people.
- Cayenne pepper or hot sauce: Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which is a compound that is known to block pain receptors. Some people mix cayenne pepper or hot sauce with honey and water to treat a sore throat.
When to See a Doctor
A sore throat may be a symptom of a more serious condition.
The American College of Physicians says that complementary home remedies should not be used in place of medical treatments for conditions that cause sore throats. Instead, use these gargles and other remedies in conjunction with the treatment suggested by your doctor.
Pharyngitis – Sore Throat. (September 2017). MedlinePlus.
Know the Warning Signs When to Call the Doctor if Your Sore Throat Persists. (2019). American Osteopathic Association.
Effect of Honey, Dextromethorphan, and No Treatment on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality for Coughing Children and Their Parents. (December 2007). Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Health: 100 Amazing and Unexpected Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar. (2014). Simon and Schuster.
Chamomile: An Herbal Medicine of the Past With a Bright Future. (November 2010). Molecular Medicine Reports.
Things You Should Know About Pharyngitis. American College of Physicians.