Things You Can Do to Relieve Sore Throat and Persistent Cough

It’s easy to become flustered when you get a cough, no matter how many times you’ve had one before. This is especially true these days when a cough might indicate the presence of COVID-19—or make those around you fearful of the virus. As a result, it’s normal that you’d want to get rid of any coughing you’re having as soon as possible.

To make things worse, sometimes the cough is accompanied by pain, itchiness or irritation – all common symptoms of a sore throat. It tends to get worse when you try to swallow, making it difficult to eat and drink. Even if a sore throat and persistent cough aren’t necessarily a reason for a trip to the doctor, they can prevent you from getting a restful night’s sleep. Fortunately, there are a number of effective ways to soothe the pain and irritation. The following are some worth trying.

Pop a Cough Relief Lozenge

picture of pacages of dark violet cough relief lozenge

Cough relief lozenges are one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your cough under control. When you put a lozenge in your mouth, it begins to dissolve and release medicine that temporarily suppresses the cough and lubricates and soothes the irritated tissues of the throat. Some lozenges contain medications that help fight colds and the majority include an anesthetic to help ease the pain. Menthol or eucalyptus is another common ingredient found in lozenges as they help cool and soothe the throat.

Aside from the benefit of the lozenge itself, the simple act of sucking on a lozenge is known to be helpful. It helps increase saliva production, which in turn, reduces dryness and coats the throat, cutting down on pain and itchiness.

When shopping for cough relief lozenges, the most popular active ingredients you’ll find in them are:

  • Menthol – This component relieves oral discomfort caused by sore throats, cold sores, and fever blisters by suppressing coughs, easing minor aches and pains, and suppressing coughs. It can also be used to relieve congestion in the nose.
  • Benzocaine – It’s a numbing agent that helps to relieve pain and suppress coughs
  • Dextromethorphan – It’s a chemical that sends signals to the brain to stop the cough reflex.
  • It’s important that you understand that lozenges won’t heal your throat infection. Instead, they aid in the relief of symptoms and suffering. After three or four days, a sore throat normally goes away on its own. However, you should consult a doctor if it lasts longer than that or if your symptoms worsen.

Do lozenges have side effects? You may experience little burning, tingling, or stinging. Still, many people who use this product report no negative side effects. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if any of these side effects persist or worsen.

Stay Hydrated

picture of a woman sitting on a bed, drinking water
source: Daria Shevtsova on pexels

When it comes to managing a sore throat, staying hydrated is crucial. When you’re dehydrated, your body produces little saliva and mucus to keep your throat lubricated naturally, worsening swelling and inflammation.

Warm drinks or soups, as well as water, are wonderful options. Hot tea or soup, on the other hand, may irritate an already sensitive throat, exacerbating the condition. So your best bet is to drink plenty of water. Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol, as these can dehydrate you even more.

Gargle With Saltwater

Gargling with warm seawater might help soothe a scratchy throat. The salt relieves the pain by pulling mucus from your inflamed, swollen tissue.

Mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon table salt with 110 to 220 warm water and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. Gargle the mix for a few seconds and spit it out. You can do this several times a day.

Manuka Honey

picture of a manuka honey in a black jar beside pink flowers

It’s a common thing to put a bit of honey on our tea when our throat is feeling sore or scratchy. Honey is considered a natural cough suppressant and has even been proven to be more effective than cough medicines at helping one sleep through the night. The type of honey you use, however, can determine its efficacy, or specialty.

Research has shown that biofilm-forming bacteria, like the ones that cause respiratory infections, are susceptible to manuka honey. Methylglyoxal is the active element in manuka honey which provides it with antibacterial qualities that distinguish it from other kinds of honey. Its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities minimize inflammation and target pain-causing germs.

Studies about the effects of manuka honey consumption on Streptococcus mutants, a bacterium that causes sore throats, discovered a substantial reduction in the bacteria after participants ingested the honey. Manuka honey has also a calming impact on the inside lining of the throat, making it incredibly soothing.

To be able to enjoy these benefits, you’ll want to buy manuka honey with a high UMF rating. This number describes the levels of MGO (methylglyoxal), which is the naturally occurring compound that makes Manuka honey so special. MGO is produced in manuka honey by the conversion of a different molecule called dihydroxyacetone (DHA). The nectar of manuka flowers contains a high quantity of DHA. The greater the antibacterial properties of manuka honey are the higher the MGO content. Manuka Honey with a UMF higher than 10 is a high strength yet affordable enough option to be used therapeutically to treat sore throats and ease congestion.

Keep in mind that Manuka honey, like all honey, is a basic sugar made up of fructose and glucose. Experts recommended keeping the quantity of basic and added sugars in your diet to a bare minimum on a daily basis as too much sugar can lead to a calorie surplus, which can lead to weight gain, inflammation, liver disease, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Ideally, males should drink no more than two teaspoons of added sugar each day, while women should take no more than six teaspoons.