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How to Soothe a Sore Throat

Your throat is responsible for a multitude of tasks. Not only does it allow you to speak, but it also helps you swallow and breathe, both functions which are integral to your survival. Unfortunately, the throat is almost always in use and exposed to a variety of outside irritants, making it susceptible to infection and injury. Sometimes, a sore throat stems from a sinus issue, like post-nasal drip, allergies, sinusitis and more. Learn how to soothe a sore throat to help you and your family feel better sooner. 

What Causes a Sore Throat?

Having a sore or dry throat may indicate that you have contracted a virus, such as the common cold or influenza. Sore throats may also be caused by other infections, such as strep throat. In some cases, a sore or dry throat may be caused by an allergy to something in the environment. It may even come from something as simple as overusing your voice or breathing in dry air


If you notice your throat is dryer than usual, it may signify that you need to drink more water. When you are dehydrated, your body produces less saliva. Saliva is crucial for keeping the mouth and throat moist. Without it, your throat may become dry. If you are experiencing a dry mouth, fatigue, increased thirst, or dark yellow urine, dehydration may be at the root of your sore or dry throat.

Allergies or Hay Fever

If you have a sore throat accompanied by other allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, a runny nose, or excessive sneezing, then you may be experiencing allergies or hay fever. Allergies are caused when your immune system overreacts to a foreign substance, such as pollen, dust, or animal dander. If you believe that allergies may be the cause of your sore throat, try using an antihistamine to see if it provides relief. Visiting an allergist may also be beneficial in order to get a more customized treatment plan.

The Common Cold

Adults have an average of two to three colds each year, while children have even more. Colds spread through close contact with someone who is sick or by touching surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. The symptoms of a cold, such as an irritated throat, runny nose, and congestion, are caused by the inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. If you are experiencing these symptoms, chances are your sore or dry throat is caused by a cold. To help prevent a cold, wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, and clean surfaces that may be contaminated.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that is known to cause body aches, fever, nausea, swollen lymph nodes and tonsils, as well as an irritated throat. Strep throat is a serious infection that must be treated with antibiotics. If you have strep throat, you may notice white patches on your tonsils. Antibiotics are the most common form of treatment for strep throat. Be sure to take them as prescribed by your doctor and finish the entire course even if you are feeling better.


There may be times when a sore or dry throat comes down to nothing more than overuse. For instance, if you have been talking loudly, singing, or shouting for an extended period of time, your throat may become irritated. The best way to soothe an overused throat is to give it a rest. Avoid speaking too much, and drink plenty of fluids to keep your throat lubricated.

7 Ways to Soothe a Sore Throat

If you are looking for ways to soothe your sore throat, there are many options available. Some people may prefer natural remedies, while others may prefer over-the-counter medication. Regardless of your preference, there are many ways to find relief. Here are seven ways to soothe a dry, sore throat:

1. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is something you should be doing every day, but it is especially essential when you are trying to soothe a sore throat. Water will help to keep your throat lubricated and prevent it from becoming too dry. You may also try sucking on ice chips to help reduce swelling. If you feel congested, drinking water will help to thin out mucus. It is recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, more if you are sick.

2. Drink Warm Liquids

In addition to drinking water, you can also try drinking warm liquids. Warm liquids help to soothe the throat and may provide relief from congestion. Some people find that drinking tea with honey is especially helpful. Honey has natural antibacterial properties and may help fight off infection. Try to steer clear of tea with caffeine, as it can act as a diuretic and make you more dehydrated. Instead, look for tea with ginger, lemon, or mint, as these may help soothe your throat.

Additionally, soups and broths are excellent choices when trying to soothe a sore throat. The warmth and steam may assist in opening up your nasal passages and reducing congestion. When choosing a soup or broth, avoid ones that are spicy or that contain dairy, as these may make your throat feel worse. Chicken broth and miso soup are among the best choices.

3. Gargle Warm Salt Water

If you have a sore or dry throat, try gargling with a mixture of 8 ounces of warm water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Salt water helps kill bacteria, loosen mucus, and ease pain. Gargle with the mixture for at least 30 seconds before spitting it out. You can do this several times per day to help reduce your symptoms. Avoid swallowing salt water as it may make you dehydrated and sick.

4. Use a Humidifier

Dry air may make a sore throat worse. Try using a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home. This may keep your throat lubricated and prevent it from becoming too dry. If you have a humidifier in your home, be sure to clean it regularly, as mold and mildew may grow in them if they are not maintained.

5. Avoid Irritants

Your throat is often exposed to many irritants throughout the day. Cigarette smoke, cleaning products, and other chemicals may cause your throat to become dry and irritated. Allergies from pollen, pet dander, and dust mites may also be the culprit. If you are frequently exposed to irritants, try to limit your exposure as much as possible. For example, during allergy season, keep your windows closed and run an air purifier in your home. If you smoke, now is the time to quit, as smoking will only make a sore throat worse. It is also a good idea to keep your home clean and free from dust and pet dander.

6. Use Over-the-Counter Medications

If home remedies aren’t providing relief, many over-the-counter medications and remedies may help. For example, cough drops and lozenges are excellent choices when you have a sore throat. They offer temporary relief from pain and help to keep your throat moist. Many cough drops also contain menthol, which may ease congestion.

If you have a cold or the flu, you can also take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help reduce fever and pain. While over-the-counter medications are generally safe, read the labels carefully and talk to your doctor before taking any medication, especially if you have a medical condition.

7. Rest Your Voice

Sometimes all you need is a little rest. Having a sore throat doesn’t always mean you are sick. Sometimes it is simply the result of overuse. If you have been talking a lot, yelling, or singing, your throat may be sore. In this case, the best thing you can do is give your voice a rest. Avoid talking for long periods of time, and try not to yell. If you must talk, take a break every few minutes to give your throat a rest. Moreover, using an ice pack or a warm compress may ease pain and inflammation.

Visit The Ear and Sinus Institute

Are you looking for relief from your sore or dry throat? The Ear and Sinus Institute is dedicated to helping patients find relief from their symptoms. Dr. Marc Dean is a board-certified otolaryngologist with years of experience helping patients find relief from various conditions, including sore throat caused by a sinus condition. Schedule an appointment today.

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Call Us to Schedule an Appointment: (817) 332-4060
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