How lozenges work to ease sore throats

2015-06-09 06:00



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A SORE throat can make swallowing very painful, and is most often a symptom of a cold or upper respiratory infection. But when the pain gets too much to bear, one of the best ways to ease it is by using a lozenge.

Most often, a sore throat is a symptom of a mild cold and is usually due to a viral infection, but approximately 10% of the time bacterial infections like strep throat can be the cause.

Pharyngitis, which commonly causes a sore throat, is inflammation of the pharynx and is characterised by redness, swelling and pain which makes swallowing and sometimes even talking, difficult.

How sore throat lozenges work

Most lozenges can be purchased over-the-counter and work by dissolving in the mouth slowly as you suck them, lubricating the throat lining and easing irritation. The suck action is necessary to activate the ingredients in them and to dissolve the lozenge to stimulate the salivary gland to produce saliva, which then mixes with the ingredients to coat the throat lining, reducing pain, dryness and itchiness of the throat.

These typically contain local anaesthetics that help by numbing the throat.

Different brands of lozenges have different combinations of ingredients. Some of the most common ingredients include:

Antibacterials: The most common antibacterial ingredients include cetylpyridinium chloride, amylmetacresol, dichlorobenzyl alcohol and hexylresorcinol.

These all target the bacteria that causes the sore throat.

Cetylpyridinium chloride is a very mild antiseptic which works by killing the bacteria which is often related to the sore throat and possible throat infection. - Health24

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