Getting a sore throat can be a pretty frustrating experience for anyone. Whether it’s due to a cold or allergies, a sore throat can make it difficult to enjoy your favorite foods or drinks, and can make speaking or swallowing challenging. Fortunately, there are several over-the-counter (OTC) products available that can help provide quick sore throat relief. Here are some of the best OTC products recommended by doctors to help alleviate sore throat discomfort:
1. Lozenges with benzocaine
Benzocaine is a topical anesthetic that can help numb sore throat pain. Lozenges containing benzocaine are a popular OTC product for quick relief of a sore throat. They typically dissolve slowly in the mouth, releasing benzocaine to soothe the pain. Some lozenges are also infused with menthol, which can help to cool and soothe the throat. It is important to follow the recommended dosage instructions for these lozenges, as overusing them can result in side effects like dizziness or headaches.
2. Throat sprays with phenol or benzocaine
Similar to lozenges, throat sprays can contain either phenol or benzocaine to help numb sore throat pain. To use, the patient typically sprays the medication onto the back of their throat or the area of pain. These products can provide nearly instantaneous relief of sore throat pain, and, unlike some lozenges, they do not carry the risk of choking. As with any medication, patients should refrain from overusing throat sprays as they can have negative side effects such as a bitter aftertaste, burning sensation, or headaches.
3. Pain relievers with acetaminophen or ibuprofen
OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen are popular choices for reducing sore throat pain. These medications work by reducing inflammation in the body, which in turn can help to alleviate pain. It is important to read the label and follow the instructions when using these medications, as overuse or mixing with other medications can have negative effects such as gastrointestinal ulcers or renal damage.
4. Salt water gargle
A saltwater gargle may sound like an old wives’ tale, but it is actually a tried-and-true method for providing quick sore throat relief. To create a saltwater gargle, combine warm water with a teaspoon of salt and gargle the mixture for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. The salt can help to reduce inflammation in the throat, while the warm water can provide soothing relief. This simple remedy is low-risk and can be done multiple times per day.
Not all sore throat remedies come in the form of medication. Honey is a natural product that has been used for centuries to help soothe sore throats. It has antibacterial properties that can help to reduce inflammation and provide relief from discomfort. To use, simply take a spoonful of honey and slowly swallow it to coat the throat.
It is important to note that, while these OTC products can provide quick sore throat relief, they are not a substitute for medical treatment in cases of severe or prolonged sore throat symptoms. It is always best to consult with a doctor if a sore throat persists for more than a few days, or if it is accompanied by additional symptoms such as fever or difficulty breathing.
In conclusion, a sore throat can be an uncomfortable and frustrating experience, but there are several OTC products recommended by doctors that can help to provide quick relief. Lozenges with benzocaine, throat sprays with phenol or benzocaine, pain relievers with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, a saltwater gargle, and honey are all effective options to try for sore throat relief. While these remedies can be effective for short-term relief, it is always important to keep in mind that they do not substitute for medical treatment in cases of severe or prolonged symptoms.