You wake up one morning and it hurts to swallow. Maybe you’re sick, or maybe you spent the previous day screaming and cheering for your favorite sports team. Either way, you have a sore throat and you need some relief. Will throat lozenges work? And how do they even work, anyway?
When you suck on a lozenge, it starts to dissolve and release medicine. It is intended to dissolve slowly in the mouth to temporarily suppress the cough, and lubricate and soothe irritated tissues of the throat. Some have medications that help fight colds, and most have anesthetic to help ease the pain. Lozenges also contain menthol or eucalyptus, which can help cool and sooth the throat. Others contain honey, which is known to have cough suppression properties.
Some prescription lozenges have antibacterial and pain medications. The pain meds are usually non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Since most colds are viral, however, the antibacterial lozenges are not widely used and may not help most people, CEENTA ENT doctor Sajeev Puri, MD, said.
In addition to the benefits of the lozenge itself, just the act of sucking on a lozenge is helpful. This increases saliva production, which reduces dryness and coats the throat. This, in turn, cuts down on pain and itchiness.
It is safe for an older child to use throat lozenges to ease a sore throat. If they are younger than 4 years old, they should not use any over-the-counter cough or cold medicines. If they are between the ages of 4 and 6, they can use them if their doctor recommends them. If they are older than 6, your child can use them if you follow the dosage instructions.
It’s important to note that throat lozenges won’t actually cure your throat of infection. Instead, they help relieve symptoms and ease pain. A sore throat usually goes away on its own after three or four days. However, if it lasts longer than that or your symptoms worsen, you need to see a doctor.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Puri practices in our Blakeney office. To make an appointment with him or any of CEENTA’s ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.
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