How to treat pharyngitis

How to treat pharyngitis

Painful pharyngitis can have a big impact on your day to day life, making it hard to concentrate and go about your tasks as normal. It can also mean it hurts to eat or drink which can lead to other problems such as dehydration or feelings of dizziness. However, treating your sore throat can help to alleviate these symptoms and allow you to get back to your regular daily activities sooner.

How to treat pharyngitis at home

The treatment that is best for your pharyngitis will depend on what is causing it. Some treatments can be done at home, whereas others will need the approval of a doctor. For example, if your sore throat is caused by lots of shouting or singing or talking, then the obvious treatment to try is to rest your voice. If your pharyngitis is the result of a bacterial infection, however, you may need to be prescribed antibiotics to tackle the infection[1]

If you’ve had a sore throat for a week or more, it’s best to get medical advice in case there is an underlying cause that can’t be tackled with at-home treatments.

How to soothe pharyngitis

If you are prescribed medicated treatment from your doctor, it’s unlikely to immediately take away your sore throat. Always pay attention to the information they give you about what you can and can’t take along with your medication, as this may affect which at-home sore throat remedies you can use to ease the pain while the medication takes effect[1].

  • Throat lozenges

Over the counter sore throat treatments such as Chloralieve’s soothing throat lozenges can ease the pain of your pharyngitis until it goes away. Many contain honey or lemon, both of which can have a calming effect on throat pain and irritation[2,3]. Lozenges are a convenient, portable solution to throat pain, so you can easily take them to work or school for use during the day.

  • Drink plenty of fluids

Having a dry, scratchy throat can make pain worse or even be the cause of your sore throat in the first place. Drinking plenty of fluids, preferably water, will help to prevent dehydration as well as lubricating your throat to reduce friction and ease pain. If you’re not keen on water alone, try lemon water or a hot lemon drink[1].

  • Gargle salt water

Gargling salt water can also help to keep your throat lubricated when you have pharyngitis. In addition, the salt can help to break down excessive mucus in your throat, which may help to reduce coughing and clear your oesophagus. To do this, stir half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water. Next, gargle it for 10 to 30 seconds and spit it out. This can be repeated as needed. Never swallow salty water, as it can make you nauseous or cause vomiting[1]

What happens if pharyngitis is left untreated?

In most cases, sore throats are nothing to worry about and clear up within a week or two. Leaving them untreated, or treating solely at home without medical advice, is usually fine. It’s best to try home treatments for a week unless your sore throat is particularly severe or you’re experiencing other symptoms such as fever or shivers. 

However, if your sore throat gets worse, doesn’t get better within a week or is combined with other symptoms, it is best to speak to a doctor who can assess your condition. Viral infections typically get better on their own, but bacterial infections may get worse or spread without treatment. You should also consult a doctor if you have a weakened immune system or you get sore throats often[1].