In the past, you might have grabbed a big cup of tea from Starbucks, popped in a few cough drops, and made it through the day when a terrible sore throat struck. Being irritated and inflamed has taken on a whole new meaning. A sore throat is one of the most common symptoms of the Omicron variant of COVID. A recent UK survey found that 69% of COVID patients reported a sore throat, making it far more common than symptoms that have characterized previous strains, such as loss of taste and smell ( Another study confirmed that sore throats were more common than those from the delta mutant of the virus (Omicron).
“As the COVID virus evolved, we started having more upper respiratory symptoms and less lower respiratory symptoms during the course of the disease,” says Peter Ashman, an otolaryngologist at the Associates of Otolaryngology and Allergy in New York. says the doctor. “This means that sore throats have become a more common symptom as a result. Coughing and nasal symptoms have also become more common.” They note that the amount of virus released has increased, making the strain more contagious.
What Causes a Sore Throat in COVID?
In general, sore throats are most often caused by viruses, whether you have COVID, a cold, or the flu. The virus travels through the bloodstream and binds to certain types of cells, says Sean Allen. He is MD, a rhinologist and ENT specialist at My Houston Surgeons. “It can affect the mucous membranes that run down the nose and throat to the airways,” he explains. .
What is the best way to treat a COVID sore throat?
Your body will eventually fight off the virus and sore throat on its own, but there are a few things you can do to help yourself feel better in the meantime.
get plenty of restCovid-19 may make you nervous about continuing to work virtually, but it’s important to rest so your body can fight the infection, says Dr. Ashman. “Work and strenuous activity can induce stress and cause dryness, further irritating the throat.”
Take OTC pain relievers: Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help relieve a sore throat. Several studies have shown that if you can take ibuprofen, it generally relieves a sore throat better than acetaminophen, Dr. Ashman said.
Drink up: The rule of drinking eight glasses of water a day may or may not be accurate, but now is a good time to follow it. Hot drinks, in particular, can help soothe sore throats, but keeping the body hydrated with water, teas, and soups is an important part of recovery.
Suck ice chips: Freezing water is also effective. “Over time, the cold can numb your throat,” Dr. Allen says.
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Soothing with honey: Honey coats the back of your throat to help relieve pain and dryness, says Dr. Ashman. Mix it into tea or hot water, try honey lozenges, or add a spoonful (Note: Do not give honey to children under 1 year old).
Gargle with salt water: Salty mouthwash has been shown to significantly reduce sore throat and inflammation. Dr. Allen recommends experimenting with salt-to-water concentrations (between 1/4 teaspoon and 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces of water) to find the mixture that feels most comfortable.
humid: “One of the challenges of recovering from a sore throat in the winter is that cold, dry air is your enemy,” says Dr. Allen. He recommends putting a humidifier in the room and turning the thermostat a little higher. A warm, steamy shower can also help calm the airways.
Suck lozenges: There are plenty of throat sprays available at drugstores to soothe a sore throat, but Dr. Allen points out that they are very temporary relief. He likes lozenges. Lozenges are soothing as long as they stay in your mouth. Dr. Ashman recommends looking for sprays or lozenges with menthol, benzocaine, or dyclonine listed in the ingredients.
Avoid irritating foods: Coffee and spicy foods can irritate your throat, and Dr. Allen also recommends avoiding foods that need to soothe your throat, like potato chips and crispy bread.
quit smoking: It’s always bad for your body, but a sore throat makes it even worse.
Will I still have a COVID sore throat even if I am vaccinated?
Yes, but chances are that getting a boost with a vaccine won’t make your sore throat as bad or last as long. has not been done, butStudies have shown that vaccinated people are more likely to have milder symptoms and reduce the duration and overall severity of symptoms, Dr. Ashman said.A 2022 study at the BMJ found that vaccinated and boosted people had Omicron symptoms for an average of 4.4 days, compared to the general average of 6.87 days. “Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that vaccines may reduce the overall severity of COVID sore throats.”
How long does a COVID sore throat last?
A sore throat is usually one of the first symptoms of COVID and can last from a few days to a week, Dr. Allen says. “However, in more extreme cases of COVID, we know that sore throats last for weeks or more,” he adds.
Is paxlovid effective for sore throats?
Paxlovid, an antiviral drug that must be taken within the first five days of the onset of COVID, helps your body eliminate the virus and limit the course of the disease, which could, in theory, cause a sore throat. To be eligible to take paxlobid, you must be at risk if you have mild to moderate symptoms, are over the age of 65, have a chronic health condition, or have a weakened immune system. must have a factor.
When should I worry?
If you have trouble swallowing or breathing, notice a change in your voice, or have a high fever, call your doctor right away, says Dr. Ashman. Both experts recommend that if your sore throat lasts longer than two weeks, see your doctor or sore throat specialist to see if something else is going on, such as a long COVID, sore throat, or malignancy. I emphasize that it is necessary to confirm.
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