How to fight a throat infection without antibiotics

How to fight a throat infection without antibiotics

How to fight a throat infection without antibiotics

Although antibiotics can be effective in fighting off certain throat infections, they’re not a perfect cure for all maladies. In fact, antibiotics are only effective in conditions caused by a bacterial infection – and in many cases, it’s possible for your immune system to fight off the infection without the intervention of antibiotics. Even if the infection is bacterial, antibiotics won’t necessarily help you feel better quicker as most minor illnesses pass quickly regardless of the treatment[1].

Using antibiotics when they’re not needed allows bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance and become better at surviving future antibiotic treatments you may be prescribed[2]. Because of this, it’s important to know how to treat throat infections without antibiotics.

How to ease a sore throat without antibiotics

When you feel a sore throat coming on, resist the urge to head to the doctor’s in the hope of getting some antibiotics to take care of the infection. Most sore throats get better within a week and only require over-the-counter treatments[3]. This is because your immune system is good at tackling infections all on its own, so you don’t always need prescribed medications to help it do the job.

So what kind of treatments are appropriate for this? Well, there are two types of ‘self care’ sore throat treatments you can try: medicated options and non-medicated options.

When we talk about medicated treatments, we mean those that contain a specific licensed medication that treats one or more of your symptoms. In the case of a throat infection, that could mean painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, cough syrups that ease chesty coughs and soothe your breathing, or lozenges that soothe a painful sore throat. For instance, Chloralieve’s Honey and Lemon Throat Lozenges contain antiseptic and anaesthetic compounds to soothe pain and help you fight off your infection.

Another example is a sore throat spray such as Ultra Chloraseptic’s Menthol Throat Spray, which uses the local anaesthetic benzocaine to numb the pain of your sore throat so you can get on with your usual routine while your immune system fights off the infection.

As for non-medicated solutions, it’s worth knowing that certain foodstuffs can be effective when fighting off a throat infection. For example, vitamin C is an essential nutrient for your immune system, so eating lots of fruits and veggies like lemons and greens can give you a boost that can help you to shake off the infection[4].

On top of that, some foods make good soothers to ease sore throat pain. Honey is the most well known example, which is why people often have hot lemon and honey drinks when they’re feeling under the weather. Honey also has antibacterial properties which may help if you have a bacterial infection[5].

Alternatively, you could also try gargling salt water. Just dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in roughly 200ml of water, then swish it around your mouth and gargle. Then spit the salt water out. This is something you can do several times a day if you wish – plus it can be a great way to freshen up your mouth after eating[3].

How long does a sore throat last without antibiotics?

As previously mentioned, most sore throats go away within about a week. However, not all sore throats will go away by themselves, so it’s important to keep an eye on the date so you can tell if yours is lasting longer than expected. If it’s been longer than a week, it’s a good idea to speak to your GP about possible treatments, as it could be that you need a little extra help fighting off the infection. You should also see a doctor if your symptoms are very severe or you have a weakened immune system[3].