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Self Care for Sore Throats

What causes a sore throat?  
Many things can cause sore throats. A sore throat that occurs with, or is followed by, other cold symptoms is usually due to a virus. 

Antibiotics have no effect against viruses.
Another cause of a sore throat is strep throat, which is due to infection with streptococcal bacteria.  It is more common in children ages 4 to 11, and is less common in older children and adults. Symptoms of strep throat include sore throat with two of these three symptoms:
  • Fever of 100° or higher;
  • White or yellow coating on the tonsils;
  • Swollen glands in the neck.
What can you do for a sore throat?
Home care/treatment is usually all that is needed for viral sore throats.  If you are taking antibiotics for strep throat, these tips will also help you feel better. 
  • Gargle frequently with warm water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water).
  • If you have post-nasal drip, gargle frequently to prevent more throat irritation.
  • Drink more fluids, preferably water(8-12 extra cups per day) to soothe a sore throat.
  • Stop smoking, and avoid others’ smoke
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen will relieve pain and reduce fever. Take as directed.
See health professional if you have any of the following symptoms:
  • A severe sore throat with drooling or difficulty breathing.
  • A fever of 100° or higher.
  • White or yellow coating on the tonsils.
  • Swollen glands in the neck.
  • Severe painful swallowing.
  • Symptoms lasting longer than one week.
  • A rash with a sore throat.
  • A history of rheumatic fever.