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Coughing & Sore Throats

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 

Will drinking hot chocolate cure my sore coughing throat?

No. Most likely drinking hot chocolate will make your sore throat from coughing feel better temporarily, but worse in the long run.

Warm beverage, plus the fat, will soothe the throat at first. And the dopamine release will also help you feel better in general. However, milk and chocolate thicken and irritate the mucous. Irritation may not occur, but you will feel like hacking up that new lump of mucous in your throat.

All in all, there are much better beverages for sore throats.

 

What physically occurs to cause (in general) a sore throat and what is the best cure for it?

Gargle with salt water several times a day (1 teaspoon salt dissolved in a cup of warm water).

This method was recommended by my father, a family physician. I've been using it for 30 years and find it works better than tea or other methods. Tastes bad, but works well.

 

What proof alcohol (whisky, vodka, etc.) do you need to gargle/sip to get a medicinal effect for a severe sore throat?

Contrary to popular believe, home treatments for sore throats (salt water, alcohol, soup, etc.) do not actually do anything to cure the issue, they just soothe your throat's inflammation until your body can eventually kill the virus that's causing the sore throat in the first place. Nothing you'd ever want to drink is going to kill the virus in your throat cells.

On that note, hard liquor will actually make your throat worse (after the initial soothing effect), since it worsens the inflammation and dehydrates you.

So, you're probably better off popping a lozenge or having a cup of tea.

 

What are the possible cause and remedy for a prolonged sore-throat (about 14 days)?

The most common reason for a sore throat is due to a viral illness. These are usually self-limiting and would not often last for more than a few days.

Sore throats can also be caused by bacterial infection - sometimes associated with the symptoms of tonsillitis.

Other causes which may lead to a duration of 14 days may include allergy, irritation, reflux or tumours of the tongue or pharynx.

A sore throat which has persisted for this length of time should be discussed with a medical professional in a face to face meeting.

The other occasions to seek medical advice are:

WHEN SHOULD I SEE A DOCTOR?

Whenever a sore throat is severe, persists longer than the usual five-to-seven day duration of a cold or flu, and is not associated with an avoidable allergy or irritation, you should seek medical attention. The following signs and symptoms should alert you to see your physician: Severe and prolonged sore throat

Difficulty breathing

Difficulty swallowing

Difficulty opening the mouth

Joint pain

Earache

Rash

Fever (over 101°)

Blood in saliva or phlegm

Frequently recurring sore throat

Lump in neck

Hoarseness lasting over two weeks

 

Can air conditioning cause a sore throat? If so, why?

Sure, but blaming air conditioning for sore throats is like blaming condoms for pregnancies; the connection between the device and the outcome is indeed present, but to ascribe immediate causation is logically flawed.

It boils down to this: if you don't use either apparatus correctly, undesired consequences can and do occur[1]. The fact that these undesired consequences occur does not, in any way, detract from the fact that both of these inventions are superb and the majority of people who use them competently benefit greatly.

Some reasons air-conditioning could cause a sore throat:

Poor installation leading to inadequate air circulation, causing the system to stagnate in certain areas and potentially brew infection. Solution: careful design and planning before installation, as well as installing a system that was designed to handle the air flow and quantity of the building into which it is being installed.

Poor maintenance, leading to filthy air filters and potential system-wide problems such as mold. Solution: replace air filters on a regular basis, and have the system as a whole inspected/maintained at the time intervals recommended by the manufacturer.

Always running the system with vent control closed, leading to inadequate air exchange between the home and the outside world, again potentially allowing air in certain environments to stagnate and possibly brew infection. Solution: compensate by occasionally opening the windows, or simply running the system with vent control open.

Running the system to the point of excessive aridity, leading to dessication and irritation of the throat membranes as the dry air passes between the environment and the lungs. Solution: run the system slightly less, run a humidifier, or simply allow air exchange by opening the windows for a period. Staying well-hydrated also helps prevent this from occurring.

Every single cause above is an example of human error leading to use of an air conditioning system outside of its designed parameters. The fault is in how it is being used, not in the air conditioner itself. This is an important distinction.

Air conditioning is a modern marvel that has done wonders to lower our rates of heat stroke in summertime, particularly in the elderly; it is well-known that areas of lower socioeconomic status tend to suffer from greater heat stroke morbidity/mortality precisely because they do not have the resources to allocate towards air conditioning systems.