How to soothe a sore throat?
Let’s say first that most sore throats resolve within a week.
But patients who have symptoms such as a temp of 100.4°F or higher, trouble swallowing or breathing, or a rash…since these could point to strep throat or COVID-19 infection! Remember to get tested.
For sore throats, I strongly recommend fluids and rest. Rely on remedies such as ice chips…warm broth…hard candy…or a saltwater gargle. A hot shower or cool-mist humidifier may also help.
Also, plain honey to coat the throat can be very helpful…up to 2 teaspoons at bedtime or as needed…especially if the patient also has a cough. But remember to avoid honey in kids under 1 year due to botulism risk which is a rare and potential illness.
The reason that honey in “hot toddies” is likely why they may help…not the alcohol.
OTC acetaminophen or an NSAID if needed can be used!
And When it comes to lozenges, sprays, or gargles may give short-term relief and work faster than oral analgesics. But there’s no evidence that one product is most effective…or works better than non-drug measures.
One natural product I use and is very helpful with sore throats is Biocidin Spray, at the first sign of sore throat, spray 2-3 sprays every 30 minutes for adults, works very well with the power of botanicals in the product.
And if you have a sore throat and you need a lozenge, you can need to learn the following:
For example, menthol (Vicks VapoDrops, etc) or pectin (Halls Breezers, etc) are “soothing”…and benzocaine (Cepacol, etc), dyclonine (Sucrets), or phenol (Chloraseptic spray, etc) are “numbing.”
But benzocaine product labels warn of a rare blood disorder called methemoglobinemia.
Avoid benzocaine lozenges in kids under 2…and seek emergency care for symptoms, such as blue skin, confusion, or breathing problems.
Please also remember that that sugar-free lozenges can cause diarrhea…due to sugar alcohols (sorbitol, etc).
Also be cautious that the new Betadine Sore Throat Gargle (povidone/iodine) may stain dentures, braces, or dental work…and contains iodine, so it shouldn’t be used if patients have a thyroid disorder.
Some supplements (slippery elm, zinc, etc) are thought to coat the throat. They are likely not harmful…but there’s no good evidence they help.
Finally, you can also review this chart, Soothing a Sore Throat, for more guidance.
And If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]
Wishing you the best of health,
Omar the pharmacist