A sore throat can have a number of causes. It can be the result of a viral infection like the common cold or the flu, or a bacterial infection such as strep throat; pollutants in the air like smoke, smog, or chemical fumes may be the source of the pain, or allergies could be responsible. Treatment may vary depending on the cause, but many of the steps you can take at home work well in any case.
If you have a bacterial infection like strep, the only curative treatment is antibiotics, which must be prescribed by a doctor within a certain timeframe. There is no cure for a virus like the cold or flu, but you can ease symptoms for both from the comfort of your own home. The first and most important method is to stay hydrated: your body needs plenty of fluids not only to be able to fight infection, but also to thin and loosen any mucus buildup, which blocks lungs and creates a cough or post-nasal drip, both of which irritate the throat.
Over the counter remedies are easily available. Try anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and ease pain, along with throat lozenges or hard candy. Sucking on either stimulates saliva production, bringing moisture to a dry throat, and some medicated lozenges contain extra-soothing menthol or numbing ingredients.
Dissolve salt in a glass of warm water, gargle it in the back of your throat, and spit it out — this reduces inflammation in the tonsils and the warm temperature eases pain.
Sipping on warm liquids like soup, broth, tea, or water is another easy method of pain relief. Try adding honey (known for its moisturizing and antibacterial properties) for extra flavor and comfort. A cold substance like water or a popsicle can be just as soothing, especially for a scratchy or burning throat pain.
Try to stay in warm, moist air whenever possible; you can do this by running a humidifier during the day and as you sleep, or by spending a few minutes in a steamy shower or with your face over a bowl of very hot water.
Finally, get plenty of rest to ensure your body has the time and energy it needs to recover.