Home treatment for a sore throat caused by postnasal drip

  • Gargle with warm salt water to help get rid of throat soreness. You can make the saltwater mixture by stirring 1 tsp (5 g) of salt into 8 fl oz (237 mL) of lukewarm water. Gargle as often as you like. The more often, the better.
  • Drink more fluids to soothe a sore throat. Honey and lemon in weak tea may help. (Do not give honey to children younger than 1 year.)
  • Take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin to help the pain go away. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of a rare but serious illness called Reye syndrome.

Clean the inside of the nose with salt water. This may help reduce postnasal drip. To make the solution, mix ½ teaspoon salt, 1 cup water (at room temperature), and ½ teaspoon baking soda. You may also purchase a saline solution at your pharmacy.

Gently squirt the solution into your nose. Aim the water toward the back, not the top, of your head. The water will run through the nasal passages and into the back of your throat. Spit it out through your mouth. It will not hurt you if you swallow some of the water. To squirt the solution, you can:

  • Use an all-rubber ear syringe, which you can buy at a drug store.
  • Use a medical syringe without the needle.
  • Use a Water Pik, set on "low."
  • Pour the solution into your hand and "snuff" it up through your nose, one nostril at a time.

Last Updated: July 8, 2009

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