16 Natural Remedies for Sore Throat in Kids of All Ages!
12 mins read
Health & Safety for New Born, Baby, Toddlers, Pre-schoolers
With the changing season comes a host of illnesses that your child is extremely vulnerable to. As your baby is growing, his immunity system is still weak and he can easily catch a cold, cough, and other conditions. One common discomfort that accompanies a cold and cough is a sore throat.
Sore throats are very uncomfortable for your little one, and the discomfort and inflammation will often result in excessive crying, crankiness, and refusal to eat/drink most foods. This can worsen the situation and result in a fever and loss of weight too. Hence, it’s imperative to help your baby recover from a sore throat as soon as possible and ensure his safety.
Sore Throat Remedies for Babies: 0 to 6 Months
While all remedies mentioned below can be used for older kids too, they have been advised specifically for babies between 0 and 6 months of age because most common home remedies (such as ginger, honey, lemon, etc.) do not work for this age group, on account of allergy, choking, or other health hazards/complications. Feel free to use these remedies for your older child too.
Your little one may be refusing breastmilk or formula if he has a sore throat. But you need to ensure he has smaller amounts of the same with an increased frequency to ensure that he is not dehydrated. Breastmilk is also an important immunity booster that helps fight infection.
Also Watch: Paediatrician Talks About Sore Throat: Causes and Treatment in Kids
Keeping the throat warm helps soothe the inflammation. Use a hot water bottle or a heating pad to soothe a sore throat and help in faster recovery for your little one. Remember to check the warmth of the compress on yourself and ensure it's not too hot but comfortably warm for your little one.
Steam - Indirect Inhalation:
Use steam to provide your little one with some relief from a sore throat. The moist air from the steam will help ease the pain and reduce any swelling. However, since your little one is too young for direct inhalation you can create a steam room in your bathroom for indirect inhalation. Simply turn on the shower on the hottest setting and shut the bathroom door. Sit with your little one in the bathroom for about 15 minutes to ease a sore throat.
Warm Oil Massage:
A warm oil massage is an age-old remedy for most minor conditions like cold, congestion, etc. This remedy is excellent for a sore throat too as it warms up the area and soothes the pain. Mustard oil is an excellent option for a warm oil massage and can be applied directly to the throat in a gentle manner to treat a sore throat.
Note: If your baby has sensitive skin and the tendency to develop eczema and rashes, you can go for a milder oil that nourishes. Lavender and olive oil are good alternatives.
Sore Throat Remedies for Babies: 6 to 12 months
Many of these home remedies are not recommended for younger babies because they pose a health risk: your baby could be allergic to some of the ingredients, while others may cause your baby to catch some other kind of infection. Make sure you use these remedies for babies older than at least 6 months.
A mild chamomile tea is an excellent remedy for a sore throat and even clears any congestion that accompanies it. Simply boil a chamomile tea bag in 2 cups of water. Allow it to cool down to a lukewarm temperature and give your baby a few spoonfuls 2-3 times a day.
Once you’ve started your baby on solids, in addition to breast milk or formula, you can feed your baby other warm fluids like soups or broths to keep him hydrated and soothe the pain. Some good options are lentil soup, broccoli soup and clear chicken or vegetable broth.
The exact age at which it is recommended to introduce ghee to a baby varies – some believe 6 months is alright, some wait until their baby turns eight months old. If you have already introduced ghee to your baby’s diet, this natural remedy for sore throat will work wonders for you. Ghee is considered to be a superfood and for good reason. It strengthens the bones and aids the digestive system. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory properties are excellent to soothe a sore throat. Melt 1 tablespoon of ghee and add a pinch of grounded black pepper to it. Heat this mixture for a few seconds to a minute. Give this to your baby once a day.
You can get more experimental when treating a sore throat in your toddler because he will be able to eat a lot of things that are not recommended to be offered to babies. This is why there will be more options available for you to treat a sore throat in toddlers.
Just like Ghee, Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties which are soothing for a sore throat and also helps fight infections. This makes Ginger an excellent remedy. Mix a teaspoon of ginger juice and an equal amount of honey and give it to your baby to relieve throat distress. Follow it up with a cup of warm milk.
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and also has innate warming qualities. This makes it fit to aid recovery from a sore throat. Give a mixture of 1/4th tablespoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon honey once a day to your baby for relief from a sore throat.
Lemon and Honey:
Honey is a traditional remedy to soothe a sore throat and suppress cold. In fact, even modern science agrees with studies showing that it may help ease a cough, which can contribute to sore throat pain. Lemon, on the other hand, is enriched with Vitamin C which is excellent for boosting immunity. 1 tablespoon lemon juice and a few drops of honey added to a cup of warm water can work wonders for a sore throat. Feed this to your baby 3 to 4 times a day and see the results for yourself! However, remember that honey can cause infant botulism in kids younger than a year old and should only be given to kids after they complete a year.
In the books of Ayurveda, turmeric is a known remedy for all sorts of conditions – whether it be a wound or a cold! Turmeric milk will help soothe your little one’s throat with its rich anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition to these tried and tested remedies for a sore throat, you need to keep in mind some other tips that will not only comfort your little one but also help him recover faster from the discomfort of a sore throat.
Home Remedies for Sore Throat in Kids
Older children, typically above the age of 3 years, can be given medicines to cure a sore throat. Chances are your older child’s sore throat will take longer to heal because he is more ‘exposed’ to factors that worsen his condition: the environment, other sick children at his preschool or playground, etc. This is why it may be wiser to supplement your home remedies with a doctor’s prescription. However, these medicines need to be administered in proper child-appropriate doses.
Salt Water Gargles:
Salt water gargles, while they may be safe enough for younger kids, are not recommended for children below 3 years of age because they may not be able to ‘gargle’. This then presents a choking hazard. For older kids, however, this can be an effective sore throat home remedy. Add a spoon of rock salt to hot water, and ask your child to gargle with this water.
Wheatgrass has been explored a lot in the recent few years for its multitude of health benefits – from a toothache to oral health, to weight-loss even. One of the benefits of wheatgrass is its ability to relieve a sore throat. You can dilute the extract with warm water if your child doesn’t like the taste. Rinsing with wheatgrass juice a couple of times can ease a sore throat.
One of the things that worsens a sore throat is phlegm. The best way to control phlegm is by gargling with liquorice water. Simply mix a few drops of the solution or 1 tablespoon of the powder in a glass of warm water, and offer it to your child to gargle with.
Hot Sauce Gargles:
Sounds outrageous? Believe it or not, this sore throat home remedy is actually legit. All chillis and peppers belonging to the Capsicum family – such as bell peppers, chipotle, cayenne, etc. – have an ingredient called capsaicin, which gives peppers their typical hot taste. This capsaicin has antiseptic properties and can relieve a sore throat. Add a few drops of hot sauce to warm water, and ask your child to gargle with it.
Garlic has antiseptic properties and is recommended as a preventive measure for a lot of different health problems. One of the many ways in which you can use garlic is as a sore throat home remedy. Either offer it raw to your child, or you can dry roast it in a pan.
Why Avoid Medicines for Sore Throat in Kids
All above remedies are safe to try with your child. However, they are effort-intensive and take time to kick in, when compared to allopathy. A lot of mothers may argue that these remedies work for mild symptoms, but that they’d rather rely on antibiotics when things get worse. So what should you do?
While every mother knows the thresholds of pain and tolerance of her child better than anyone else, scientists and researchers are advising more and more parents to resort to home remedies for common ailments like a cough or cold, when it comes to their children. The reason? Drug-resistance.
Multiple drug resistance is a serious problem that is rendering drugs ineffective in the wake of overuse of drugs. Many a time, people ‘pop pills’ to cure mild ailments like coughs, colds, tonsillitis, bronchitis, etc. This repeated exposure to drugs makes the disease-causing microorganisms resistant to them – meaning, the drugs fail to kill the microorganisms. What’s more is, people often consume these drugs in high doses, making the microorganisms resistant to even higher concentrations of the medicine.
The best approach to a common sore throat is to spot the early signs of a sore throat, so you can nip it in the bud. For treating a sore throat, increase your intake of fluids, consume soft and home-cooked foods, and taking a common painkiller like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
Things to Avoid When Your Child Has a Sore Throat
While all above remedies will help you ease your child’s sore throat, there are a few things you need to take care of in order to not aggravate the situation. Here is a list of precautions to take when your child has a sore throat.
Do not make your child talk too much. Encourage them to give their throat a rest. This is especially important for older, talking children.
Ensure they get enough rest. Children’s immune systems are weaker and so they need more time to fight of common infections. As the body’s energy reserves are depleted in this process, children become physically weak. None of your remedies will work if you do not ensure your child gets enough rest and sleep to cope up with all the wear and tear happening in the body.
Avoid common irritants like fried foods, cold drinks, hard foods like nuts, biscuits, etc. that can aggravate a sore throat.
If your child’s sore throat is accompanied with a lot of phlegm generation, avoid foods like bananas, dairy products, sugary foods (like candy), fried foods, etc. which actually boosts phlegm generation in the body. This can further worse your child’s sore throat.
If possible, ensure your child’s surroundings are not making the condition worse. One sure way to improve your child’s surroundings is to install a humidifier in your child's bedroom so they don’t breathe in dry air.
Keep your child hydrated. A dehydrated body cannot combat a sore throat, because dryness is the number one enemy of a sore throat! Offer your child lots of fluids.
Dress your child according to the weather and keep him comfortably warm, especially if you venture out with him, to protect him from the cold and soothe the pain and inflammation.
Make sure that whoever handles your baby washes or sanitizes his hands and maintains a high degree of personal hygiene.
Increase skin-to-skin contact with your little one to help him get well soon.
One word of caution – please be careful about when to seek medical care. You can try the above remedies if the condition isn’t serious. But if it doesn’t improve within 48 hours despite using these remedies, consult a doctor.