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Warm Salt Water for a Sore Throat

author image Julie Hampton
Julie Hampton has worked as a professional freelance writer since 1999 for various newspapers and websites including "The Florida Sun" and "Pensacola News Journal." She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and nurse for over six years and recently worked as the Community Relations Director for a health center. Hampton studied journalism and communications at the University of West Florida.
Warm Salt Water for a Sore Throat
Gargling with salt water is a quick, but temporary fix to an achy throat. Photo Credit salt image by Andrey Rakhmatullin from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Salt water is one of the oldest remedies to sooth a sore, achy throat. Creating a salt-water mixture is fast and cheap using regular table salt and water. The salt-water gargle is only temporary. If your sore throat lasts the entire day and is accompanied by fever, chills and inflamed tonsils you may be suffering from strep throat and medical attention is required. Besides salt water rinses, other quick home remedies and fixes may also relieve your sore throat.


Salt water eases a sore throat by keeping the oral area clean and moist, advises the University of Puget Sound. Bad breath is often associated with a sore throat and salt water decreases your mouth's odor. Gargling with saltwater can be repeated as often as needed to decrease pain associated with your throat.


Mix together ½ tsp of table salt with warm water in a glass, recommended the University of Illinois at Carbondale. Stir well until the salt dissolves. Take a swig of the solution, hold your head back and gargle. Spit out the solution and repeat. Do not allow young children to rinse with salt water because they may not understand the solution should not be swallowed.

Sore Throat Tips

Gargling with saltwater isn't the only home remedy to treat a sore throat. Gargling with hot apple cider, lemonade or even mouthwash may temporarily ease throat pain, advises Thomas Weida, M.D., Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Drink cold or warm beverages. Cold beverages include ice water, juices and sodas. Chicken broth, teas or water with honey are ideal warm beverages. Do not drink hot drinks because they may further irritate your throat. Aim for eight to 10 glasses of liquids per day. If you are having difficulty swallowing foods, choose soft items for a day or so. Plain pasta, mashed potatoes, steamed fruits and vegetables are easy to swallow, when your throat is aching. Avoid citrus fruits and juices as they may further aggravate your condition.


A sore throat is caused by a virus in 90 percent of cases, reports the University of Puget Sound. However, in some cases you may have strep throat. Strep throat must be treated with antibiotics. Home remedies such as salt-water gargles may ease your throat pain, but will not eliminate strep throat. Antibiotic therapy must be started immediately. Left untreated, strep throat may cause a serious condition called rheumatic fever, reports the University of Southern Indiana.

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