If your sore throat is due to a viral infection, it may last up to a week or so. Such infection doesn’t require medicines. You can use medicines to manage fever and relieve pain. Over-the-counter acetaminophen or any other pain killer is the best choice. However, over dosing and long-term usage should be avoided. It is always better to talk to your doctor and follow the labels accordingly to prevent undue side effects.
To relieve the symptoms associated with sore throat in children, acetaminophen or ibuprophen are the best OTC medicines. But never give Aspirin to children – especially to those children who are recovering from cold or flu-like symptoms because Aspirin usage is linked to Reye’s syndrome – Acquired encephalopathy following acute viral infections (especially influenza or chicken pox) in young children; characterized by fever, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, disorientation, coma, and fatty infiltration of the liver. Reye’s syndrome is a rare but potentially life-threatening condition.
Lifestyle and Sore Throat Remedies
Whatever may be the cause of your sore throat, you can ease the symptoms by trying some very handy home-based sore throat remedies including the following:
Take plenty of rest and also give rest to your throat.
Drink lots of fluids and avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Fluids help in keeping the throat moist and prevent dehydration during infections. But caffeinated beverages and alcohol can dehydrate you.
Keep yourself away from cigarette smoke, dust, chemicals and other air-pollutants.
Keep yourself away from the home-based products and cleaning agents that can irritate your throat and cause soreness.
Take hard minted or medicated candies or consider using lozenges. They help in soothing the irritated throat. But avoid giving such products to small children age around 4 to 5 years owing to choking risk.
Eliminate dry air from your surrounding areas by placing a cool-air humidifier. Dry air can further aggravate your sore throat. You can also prevent dryness by sitting in a steamy bathroom for several minutes.
Gargling with saltwater helps in easing your sore throat and preventing throat irritation and hoarseness.
Relishing on soothing foods and broths – hot soups, broth and warm liquids, warm water mixed with honey; ginger broth, warm tea free from excess caffeine and other foods that soothe your throat
Alternative medicine – Is It Safe?
In addition, you can go for alternative medicine provided you don’t have bacterial infection. Alternative medicine is in use for over centuries, but there is very little or no evidence about some of the herbal treatments and other alternative therapies. Based on your symptoms, if you think that you have bacterial infection, then approach a doctor rather than relying on alternative approaches alone.
In addition, when you go to an ENT specialist irrespective of whether you have a viral or bacterial infection, inform him or her about all the alternative therapies that you are adopting and also about any herbal supplements or medicines that you are taking.
Remember! Sore throat remedies may or may not work. Herbal medicines or alternative therapies are not always safe for all – no matter whatever claims or potential curing capabilities they carry with them. Several research studies have shown the interaction of several herbal medicines with the prescription medicines. Therefore, such practices are not safe in weak people, children and pregnant women and also in some individuals with some health conditions.
There are several such herbal medicines and plant-based products that are being commercially sold in the market including Licorice root, slippery elm and some Chinese medicines – be careful about those medicines. In a nutshell, if you have sore throat which is not getting better in spite of all your efforts, then see an ENT specialist as soon as possible.