Can a lollipop really ease a sore throat? It’s the season for scratchy throats, and – from gels to pastilles – there are plenty of remedies that claim to help
Whatever the cause, there are many over‑the-counter remedies.
Adrian Monti asked the experts to assess a selection, including some old favourites. We then rated them.
Covonia Sore Throat Oromucosal Spray, 30 ml, from £5.59, available at most pharmacies
Claim: This spray, which comes in lemon and menthol flavours, is said to have a ‘dual-action formula to numb pain and fight infection’, according to the maker.
Its active ingredients are lidocaine hydrochloride, a local anaesthetic, and chlorhexidine gluconate, an antiseptic. Use three to five sprays, six to ten times a day.
Expert verdict: ‘Lidocaine is effective in numbing a sore throat and will provide relief,’ says Ben Merriman, a pharmacist based in Cumbria.
‘If it is caused by a bacterial infection, the chlorhexidine is effective against many bacteria, including the one that causes strep throat.
‘Using a spray means the drugs go straight to the troublesome site, which is good. This is quick-acting and its effect lasts about an hour. The menthol flavour will also separately provide a mild anaesthetic effect and help ease nasal congestion, too, so I’d choose that over the lemon flavour.
‘If you need to use this spray for more than a week, consult your GP as you might require antibiotics.’
Difflam Sore Throat Rinse, 200 ml, £8.29, most pharmacies.
Claim: This rinse is made ‘for painful and inflamed sore throats’ and contains benzydamine hydrochloride, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which the maker says relieves pain quickly and works as an anaesthetic. Use the bottle’s cap to measure 15 ml and ‘gargle or rinse’ with the solution.
Expert verdict: ‘This is aimed at any type of sore throat, although it won’t treat a bacterial infection,’ says Thorrun Govind, a pharmacist based in the North-West of England.