A sore throat may be caused by bacteria, a virus, breathing through the mouth or a variety of irritants. If an illness is causing the sore throat, the glands that are located near the throat or your tonsils may be swollen as well, causing discomfort and difficulty swallowing. Most sore throats do not require a doctor's care, according to the Mayo Clinic. If your throat swells suddenly or is affecting your breathing, seek emergency care immediately. Other indications that you should see a doctor include a skin rash that is present with the sore throat, pus in the throat or a fever higher than 101 degrees, according to the National Institutes of Health. If your pain is not severe and is not accompanied by serious symptoms, try home remedies for a sore throat to help you feel better.
Drink More Fluids
The Mayo Clinic recommends increasing your intake of fluids to help keep your throat moist. They recommend warm soup, tea, water and fruit juices. Adding honey and lemon to a glass of hot water or a cup of tea can lubricate the throat and reduce the amount of mucus in your throat. Another way to moisturize your throat is to suck on cough drops or hard candy. These can coat the throat, and also will produce more saliva.
Use a Humidifier
Run a humidifier or vaporizer to moisturize your nasal and throat passages. The Mayo Clinic stresses the importance of cleaning the humidifier regularly to discourage the growth of dangerous or irritating molds and bacteria.
Cigarette smoke, cleaning product fumes and other pollutants or toxins can further irritate your sore, swollen throat. Avoid these while you are sick, and find ways to reduce your exposure even when you are not sick.
Gargle with Salt Water
The National Institutes of Health recommends gargling with a salt water solution several times per day. Mix a half teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water. Gargle, but do not swallow. This will help to remove excess mucus from your throat, making it feel better.