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How To Treat Strep Throat At Home
Updated on November 4, 2022
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How To Treat Strep Throat At Home
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Viral infections are the most common cause of a sore or swollen throat. But, if it’s bacteria causes your symptoms, you may have strep throat. 

Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes. It’s a sudden, painful soreness int he throat that’s often accompanies by a fever.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. These medications also help prevent the condition from potentially progressing into serious health complications like rheumatic fever.

However, the pain may continue for days even if you're on medication already. If you want to keep the soreness and discomfort at bay, try these home remedies.

How To Treat Strep Throat At Home 2

Home Remedies For Strep Throat

In some cases, the symptoms of strep throat may take days to improve. These home remedies may help ease your pain while waiting for the infection to clear.

Hydrate yourself 

Keeping yourself hydrated is essential, especially if you're not feeling well. Water and other fluids help every cell, tissue, and organ to function correctly, especially when fighting an infection.  

When you have symptoms like fever, your body tends to lose fluids because of excessive sweating. Drinking plenty of water can help replace the lost fluids and prevent dehydration.1

Constant fluid intake also keeps your throat from drying. The moisture and lubrication will help you swallow your food more easily. 

Eat soft foods

When you have a swollen throat, you may find it difficult to swallow your food. Chewing hard and crunchy foods may even require extra effort. 

Nourish yourself with soft and soothing foods instead to avoid straining your throat. The best choices include:

  • Broths
  • Soups
  • Applesauce
  • Cooked cereal
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soft fruits
  • Yogurt
  • Soft-cooked eggs

Have a cup of chamomile tea

Chamomile tea is a popular option for its relaxing effects. Aside from that, it's been a staple herbal medicine known for its other medicinal benefits.

Research shows that a warm cup of chamomile tea have helped ease soreness considering chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve pain.2

While there’s no scientific evidence that it helps fight off an infection, the soothing and relaxing property of chamomile is worth a try. 

Since it’s herbal, it’s unlikely to do harm unless you’re allergic to it. 

Add honey to your tea or warm water 

Honey is another staple herbal medicine. Long before people used it as a sweetener, they used it back in the day to cure different ailments.

Studies show that honey has healing effects involved in wound repair that help comfort a sore throat. It has antibacterial properties that can help prevent infection.3

You can add 2 tablespoons of honey to your warm water or tea. Stir until it dissolves, and enjoy.

Gargle using warm salt water

You may have heard from your mom or grandma to gargle with salt water when you have a sore throat. There’s some scientific evidence that backs up their advice. 

Research shows that salt water can break up irritants, mucus, and other fungi in your throat. Gargling it can soothe an inflamed throat and clear nasal passageways, too.4,5

To make a saltwater gargle, mix ½ teaspoon salt with six to eight ounces of warm water. Stir until the salt dissolves. Doctors suggest you limit gargling to two to three times a day.

Remember that, while it can ease discomfort, it won’t actually cure strep throat — only antibiotic treatment can.

Take plenty of rest

When you’re sick, your body needs to fight the illness and recuperate from its damage. Being well-rested during the day helps your body allocate more resources to battling the infection.

For instance, plenty of rest helps your immune system function better. It can also potentially reduce the extent of your symptoms.

Getting extra sleep is also essential. Research shows that your body produces vital proteins in your brain when you sleep. These proteins boost your immune system, helping the body ward off infections.6

Make sure to get enough rest and sleep, even if you only have a sore throat. Staying at home when you’re sick can help you feel well-rested. 

Use humidifiers

Humidifiers add moisture to the air and into your body. They’re great to have around when you have common cold symptoms such as a stuffy nose and sore throat. 

Moistened air can help rehydrate your mucus membranes. In a way, humidifiers can help clear your airways.7 

A decongested sinus will prevent you from breathing through your mouth. If you keep your sinuses clear, you can stop your throat from drying out.

Breathing in moist air also has a soothing effect on the swollen tissues in your nose and throat. Keep a humidifier in your bedroom when you sleep to avoid having an itchy or painful throat.

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What To Avoid If You Have Strep Throat

Science backs most of the home remedies for sore throat — they generally aren’t harmful to you. However, remedies like essential oils may pose health risks if not used correctly.

Other things that you may want to steer clear of when you have a sore throat are:

  • Foods that are difficult to swallow
  • Spicy or acidic foods, such as orange juice
  • Smoking or cigarette smoke
  • Dry air
  • Apple cider vinegar

The items listed above can irritate your throat, further aggravating your condition. 

Meanwhile, strep bacteria can be very contagious. If you still have signs of strep throat, it’s best to avoid sharing personal items like drinking glasses and utensils to prevent the spread of bacteria. 

Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, so you don’t transmit the bacteria in the air. Staying at home can also minimize your contact with others, lowering the risk of transmission.

Treatments For Strep Throat

At-home remedies aim to lessen or ease the discomfort of strep throat. But they aren’t meant to replace a visit to your doctor or healthcare provider. 

The following antibiotics are what doctors most commonly prescribe for strep throat:

  • Penicillin
  • Amoxicillin
  • Cephalexin

Your doctor will ask about your body weight or age to assess how much they need to give you in terms of dosage. They’ll also decide how long you need to take them. 

Remember to finish the treatment as per your doctor’s orders. Don’t stop your antibiotic intake even if you don’t feel sick anymore.  

If you don’t follow your prescription, the infection may reoccur. You’re also putting yourself at risk of antibiotic resistance by doing so.

Can You Take An At-Home Strep Test?

Yes. Currently, at-home test kits for strep throat are available. 

At-home strep tests work the same as the rapid strep test that doctors use. The kit includes a sterile cotton swab. 

You’ll use it to collect your sample by gently brushing the cotton swab on the back of your throat. The test kit usually comes with two reagents or substances used to carry out lab analysis. 

For most tests, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Mix the reagents 
  2. Add the cotton swab
  3. Let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes
  4. Soak the small stick included in the test kit into the mixture

Your outcome depends on the product or brand you’re using. A single line or a set of lines usually shows up on the stick, which indicates your test results.

You can contact your healthcare provider to help interpret your results.

When To See A Doctor

Home remedies help you feel less uncomfortable when you’re suffering from a sore throat. You must see your doctor immediately if they don’t seem to help with your symptoms.

You should also seek medical advice if your sore throat comes with fever, chills, or shivering. 

A doctor also needs to assess your condition if you have severe sore throat pain that makes you struggle with 

  • Swallowing
  • Drinking fluids
  • Speaking
  • Breathing

Remember that, while home remedies help ease your pain from strep throat, they won’t actually cure the infection. See a medical expert to receive the proper antibiotic prescription for your condition.

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Resources

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  1. Dehydration.” Mayo Clinic.
  2. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  3. Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine.
  4. The Benefits of Gargling with Saltwater.” Holman Family Dentistry.
  5. Prevention of upper respiratory tract infections by gargling: a randomized trial.” National Center for Biotechnology Information.
  6. The neuron-specific interleukin-1 receptor accessory protein is required for homeostatic sleep and sleep responses to influenza viral challenge in mice.” Science Direct.
  7. Can Humidifiers Soothe Sore Throats?” The Well by Northwell.
Cristine Santander
Cristine Santander
Content Contributor
Cristine Santander is a content writer for KnowYourDNA. She has a B.S. in Psychology and enjoys writing about health and wellness.
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