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Strep Throat: Home Treatment

Topic Overview

There are many ways that you can make yourself feel better while you are waiting for strep throat to go away.

Fluids and moisture

To increase fluids in the body:

  • Prevent dehydration by drinking fluids. Fluids may help thin secretions and soothe an irritated throat. Hot fluids, such as tea or soup, may help reduce throat irritation.
  • Gargle with warm salt water to help reduce swelling and relieve discomfort.
    • Gargle at least once each hour with 1 tsp (5 g) salt in 8 fl oz (237 mL) of warm water.
    • If you have postnasal drip, it's good to gargle even more often. It can help prevent throat irritation.
    • Most children can learn to gargle around age 8.
  • Use saline nasal sprays and nose drops to moisten the inside of your nose.

To increase moisture in the air (humidity):

  • Use a vaporizer or humidifier in your bedroom.
    • Warm or cool mist may help you feel more comfortable by soothing the swollen air passages. It may also relieve hoarseness. But don't let your room become uncomfortably cold or very damp.
    • If you don't have a humidifier, use a shallow pan of water to provide moisture in the air through evaporation. Place the pan in a safe location where no one will trip on it or fall into it.
  • Take frequent, steamy showers.
  • Drape a towel over your head and breathe the steam from a pan or sink of hot water. Be careful to avoid burns from the hot water or steam.

Nonprescription medicine

Nonprescription medicines that relieve pain may help relieve some symptoms of strep throat, but they will not make you better any faster. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen, for example, can help relieve throat pain and reduce fever.
  • Anesthetic throat sprays numb the throat area to help relieve pain. If your child is younger than age 2, ask your doctor if you can give your child numbing medicines.
  • Nonprescription throat lozenges can also help you feel better. These are okay for people age 4 and older.
    • Some have medicine (local anesthetic) that numbs the throat to soothe pain.
    • Regular cough drops or hard candies help some people.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerDonald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology

Current as ofMay 4, 2017


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