ua en ru

Sore throat isn't always a cold: Doctor's tips and remedies

Sore throat isn't always a cold: Doctor's tips and remedies Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Experiencing a sore throat may signal the onset of a cold, but it's not always the case, according to pediatrician Dr. Dasha Vlasenko.

Why can throat be sore?

Before jumping to conclusions, consider if you might have scratched or burned your throat (e.g., with dry snacks, fish bones, hot beverages).

If so, take a common pain reliever (paracetamol/ibuprofen) and consult a doctor.

If you or your child ate or drank arounf bedtime and there's no flu-like symptoms or general discomfort aside from a sore throat, it could be acid reflux. Don't take ibuprofen in this case.

Paracetamol is fine, but you may also try an aluminum-containing antacid (Maalox, Almagel, Phosphalugel). If you have had prior stomach issues, you should consult a gastroenterologist.

Onset of a cold

If, in addition to a sore throat, you experience a burning sensation in the throat, a stuffy nose, and cough, it's likely the beginning of a cold.

  • Consume cold food/drinks to alleviate pain.
  • Take lozenges/cough drops and chew gum to stimulate saliva production, moisten the throat, and ease discomfort.
  • Gargle with a solution of 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 200 ml of water to relieve dryness and ease pain.
  • If a child can't gargle or refuses to do so, don't force them.
  • You can take any pain reliever like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
  • If the pain persists despite these measures, consult a doctor.

Other options

  • Benzidamine-based products (preferably pills or gargle solution) from age 4, throat spray from age 6, gargle solution from age 12.
  • Aluminum-containing antacids (especially effective for ulcers on the mucous membrane).

Useful tips

  • Keep paracetamol and/or ibuprofen at hand.
  • Avoid indiscriminately using various medications from your first aid kit; many over-the-counter products, especially lozenges, are akin to candies.
  • A child's red throat doesn't always necessitate treatment; complaints about throat pain are rare in children under 5.
  • Avoid eating late at night.

This material is for informational purposes only and should not be used for medical diagnosis or self-treatment. Our goal is to provide readers with accurate information about symptoms, causes, and methods of detecting diseases. RBС-Ukraine is not responsible for any diagnoses that readers may make based on materials from the resource. We do not recommend self-treatment and advise consulting a doctor in case of any health concerns.