Home Remedies for a Sore Throat in Children

Discover these home remedies to relieve a sore throat in children. With them, you can complement medical treatment and help your little one feel better.
Home Remedies for a Sore Throat in Children

Last update: 26 March, 2022

An itching and burning sensation in the pharynx can make your little one feel very uncomfortable and upset. Fortunately, there are some effective home remedies to improve a sore throat in children.

Little ones can feel discomfort in the throat for various reasons: Viral or bacterial infections, allergies, colds, and even irritation caused by screaming too much.

Most of the time, a sore throat in children doesn’t require drug treatment and improves with certain natural strategies or with the passing of time. In general, after 4 or 5 days, the discomfort disappears. Either way, it’s important to be attentive and go to the pediatrician if new symptoms appear or the child’s condition worsens.

Next, we’ll share some recommendations to help your little one feel better.

A sore throat in children

As we mentioned, throat discomfort in children can be due to many causes. Changes in the weather, wearing wet clothes, and being exposed to air conditioning are the most frequent and typical causes of summer. But they can also be the consequence of viral and bacterial infections typical of the first colds.

In the event that the inflammation in the throat (pharyngitis) is of viral origin, spontaneous recovery usually takes about 5 to 7 days. On the contrary, infections of bacterial origin need to be treated with antibiotics. For this reason, it’s best to consult a pediatrician to define the origin of the problem and address it in the most appropriate way.

A young girl with a sore throat.

Home remedies for a sore throat in children

Traditional and home remedies can be very effective in relieving a sore throat in children. They’re not generally curative, but they’re especially useful for parents who want to avoid giving their children medication.

Either way, before giving any home remedy to a child, no matter how harmless it may seem, it’s best to consult with the pediatrician. In the same vein, it’s important to monitor the appearance of new symptoms, such as a high fever or signs of deterioration.

Next, we’ll share these 5 home remedies that you can use today to relieve a sore throat in children.

1. Good hydration

Proper hydration of the pharyngeal (throat) mucosa is essential in order to alleviate discomfort in this area. Dehydration reduces the production of saliva and mucus that lubricate this cavity and this increases its irritation.

As much as swallowing is uncomfortable, insist that the child drink plenty of fluids, such as water, teas, or warm (not hot) soups. If the baby is still breastfeeding, you should offer the breast frequently.

When offering food and drinks to the child, you need to be careful with their temperature. It’s best to warm the food and avoid extreme temperatures, as both can worsen the sensation of pain.

2. Gargle with saltwater

This home remedy is useful in children who already know how to spit and keep a liquid in the throat without swallowing it, which happens around the age of 6. It involves preparing a saline solution with 1 or 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and offering it to the little one to gargle with.

It’s important to motivate the child to carry out these rinses for a few seconds and repeat them 2 or 3 times a day. This is because the water hydrates the mucous membranes and the salt acts as a disinfectant and anti-inflammatory, which further alleviates irritation.

3. Tea with honey

A warm tea sweetened with honey may be one of the most popular home remedies for sore throats in children. The tea hydrates the mucous membranes and the honey, rich in vitamins and trace elements, acts as an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent. In addition, it helps reduce the typical cough of colds.

The infusion can be prepared with black tea or green tea, which also act as an antibacterial and are a source of antioxidants. Once ready, two or three tablespoons of honey are added.

Ideally, this can be an enriched beverage with a few drops of lemon (source of vitamin C) or be infused with clean citric peel in order to exploit the antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

It’s very important to mention that honey can’t be used in infants under one year of age.

4. Light and easy to swallow food

Although it’s very important that children eat in the usual way, the act of eating itself can be uncomfortable and shouldn’t be forced. Ideally, you should offer them nutritious but light meals that are rich in carbohydrates and vitamins.

Chicken, meats, or vegetable broths are usually a healthy and easy-to-swallow option. In addition, the salt they contain acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Acidic foods, such as fruits and dairy, can increase discomfort and should be avoided.

5. Steam

Lubricated mucous membranes improve symptoms, so breathing humid air helps soothe a sore throat in children. Running a cool-mist humidifier in your room can go a long way.

In addition, you can take advantage of the mist that’s produced by a hot shower while the child is taking a bath.

What to avoid

There are some home remedies for a sore throat that may work well in adults, but should be avoided in children:

  • Candies and pills with anesthetics: Most contain benzocaine, which can cause allergies and make it difficult for children to swallow.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs: While some of these products may be prescribed by a doctor, they shouldn’t be given to a child without a pediatrician’s prescription. Self-medication in children is very dangerous.
  • Aspirin: Shouldn’t be given to children under 18 years of age due to the risk of Reyé syndrome, a rare but serious condition.

Consultation with the pediatrician never hurts

Natural remedies for sore throats in children are an adjunct to relieve symptoms, but not a curative treatment. For this reason, it’s advisable to take the child to the pediatrician to identify the origin of the problem and find the appropriate therapy.

Likewise, if you choose to relieve your little one with any of the home remedies that we share here, it’s best that you talk about it beforehand with a health professional.

Finally, if the sore throat increases or persists, is accompanied by fever, skin rashes, diarrhea, vomiting, or swollen lymph nodes, see your doctor immediately.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.