Sore throats are not only painful but can be exceedingly annoying. Although they obviously aren't a symptom severe enough to merit immediate medical attention, they can have a very negative effect on your daily life. There are numerous causes of sore throat, including viruses, bacteria, cigarette smoke, sinus drainage, allergies, and sudden changes in temperature. Fortunately, antibiotics provide a relatively quick remedy if the cause of the sore throat is bacterial. However if the sore throat is caused by a virus then you're left to battle it out all by yourself, which may take around a week or so. If the cause is allergies then all you can do is take antihistamines and try to prevent the reaction in the first place.
There are many home-remedies for sore throats, the effectiveness of each depending somewhat on the cause of your particular sore throat as well as your body's unique response to the remedies themselves. One tried and true method of relieving a sore throat is by gargling salty water. Add about a teaspoon of salt to a glass of the hottest water you can handle, and gargle away repeatedly throughout the day.
Sore throats are often exasperated by lack of hydration; people often don't feel like drinking when they have a sore throat. However it is imperative to stay hydrated, warm drinks like tea in particular will help reduce the pain in your throat and speed healing. A humidifier is a great thing to have when it comes to sore throats, breathing in humid air helps soothe the swollen air passages and relieve the pain. Sitting in a really steamy shower will have similar effects if you're without a humidifier.
An even better way to harness the power of steam is to pour boiling water into a bowl and put your head over it with a towel around the back of the head. Putting a drop of eucalyptus oil into the water will relieve your sore throat even further.
If you require a more immediate alleviation to the pain, there are antiseptic throat sprays that act as a topical anesthetic in your throat and help temporarily relief pain by numbing the back of your throat. These sprays work well, but in most cases you need to be careful not to swallow too much of the spray.
Finally, there are also lozenges that work as topical anesthetics. Look for ones that contain menthol, phenol, or benzocaine in particular to numb the throat. Remember that your body is fighting to stay healthy, so you need to sleep as much as possible to give your body the energy it needs to speed up the healing process. Taking a good multivitamin and some extra vitamin C will also go a long way to hastening the healing process.