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"Does gargling with salt water heal strep throat?"

ZocdocAnswersDoes gargling with salt water heal strep throat?


Trying to make my strep throat go away as fast as possible. Will gargling with salt water help?? Will it make it worse?? How much water and how much salt if it will help?


Strep throat is a term used to describe an infection of the pharynx (back of the throat) with the bacteria streptococcus pyogens. Most sore throats are caused by viral infections and not strep throat. This distinction is important because the treatment for the two different types of sore throat are very different. If your sore throat is caused by a virus, then gargling salt water may make you feel better, but it will not shorten the course of the illness. It certainly won't make it worse. I have no recommendations on how much salt to use. You should just use the amount that makes you feel better. If you really have true strep throat, then gargling salt water will not help. You would need treatment with antibiotics either penicillin amoxicillin, or erythromycin. These antibiotics will shorten the duration of the illness and prevent the development of the more feared complications of strep throat including kidney failure, rheumatic fever, and scarlet fever. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor. He or she will look at your throat and see if it could possibly be strep throat. If there is that possibility, then you should undergo a rapid strep test and get the appropriate treatment.

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