How to Stop Throat Swelling

Throat swelling, or pharyngitis, can cause pain or itching in the throat that may worsen when you swallow. Most cases of throat swelling are caused by viral infections, such as the cold or flu, but if your symptoms are caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be required. No matter the cause of your swollen throat, you can reduce swelling and minimize discomfort from home until you start to feel better.

Step 1

Drink plenty of non-caffeinated liquids such as water and juices to keep yourself hydrated and prevent your throat from drying out and becoming more irritated.

Step 2

Mix 1 tsp salt in 8 oz. warm water. Gargle with the salt mixture for several seconds and spit it out. Regular salt water gargles can help to reduce swelling and alleviate pain in the throat.

Step 3

Place a humidifier in your room to moisten the air you breathe. If you don't have one, try filling a large bowl with hot water, leaning over it and placing a towel over your head to trap the steam.

Step 4

Suck on throat lozenges to moisten your throat and sooth pain.

Step 5

Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammitory, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, as directed by your doctor.


Never take antibiotics to treat a viral infection.

Do not give throat lozenges to children under 4 years of age.

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