What's People's Go-To Remedy For A Sore Throat?- Health Digest Survey

When cold and flu season hits, a sore throat can feel inevitable. From strep throat to allergy irritation, having a sore throat can be more than just annoying. It can get in the way of enjoying a meal or keep you from drinking as much fluids as you should. So what should you do about it?

Without a proper exam from a medical professional, it can be hard to know what's causing a sore throat. But usually, pharyngitis, or sore throat, is due to a viral infection, like the common cold or flu (via Mayo Clinic). Less often, they're caused by a bacterial infection, like the one that causes strep throat

Typical symptoms of a sore throat can include pain that gets worse when you talk or swallow, swollen glands in the neck, scratchiness, hoarse voice, swollen tonsils, and white patches on the tonsils. Depending on the cause, your sore throat might also be accompanied by a fever, body aches, nausea, or headache.

Usually, your healthcare provider will prescribe antibiotics for a bacterial infection or over-the-counter medications for a viral infection (per Cleveland Clinic). Antibiotics treat bacterial infections, which can help relieve sore throat symptoms. Over-the-counter remedies can provide direct symptom relief.

The top ways Health Digest readers soothe a sore throat at home

Health Digest conducted a survey of 612 readers, asking them what their go-to remedy for a sore throat is. Since most sore throat symptoms usually go away on their own in a few days, at-home solutions can be simple and effective (via Cleveland Clinic). Of those polled, 212 respondents, or 34.64%, said that their top treatment for a sore throat is drinking hot tea with honey. The second most popular answer was using throat lozenges, making up 30.72% of responses, or 188 votes.

Another way that readers treat a sore throat is by gargling with salt water, which was the answer for 133 people, or 21.73% of responses. Additionally, 9.80% of respondents, or 60 people, said that they use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen. And in last place with 19 votes, or 3.10% of total answers, was breathing in steam to soothe a sore throat.

Many other at-home strategies can be useful too, according to the Mayo Clinic. No matter the cause of the sore throat, rest both your body and your voice, if possible. Drink lots of fluids to keep your throat hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, since dry air can make a sore throat even more irritated. It's also smart to avoid things that can make a sore throat worse, like strong cleaning products or cigarette smoke.