Are throat sprays effective?

Are throat sprays effective?

Are throat sprays effective?

A sore throat can inhibit your daily life, negatively impact your sleep and make eating and swallowing difficult. When this is the case, you need to soothe it fast and you may have tried a number of things, including honey, whiskey, a cold drink and a hot drink. However, if these things aren’t working for you, there are other things that you could try, including a throat spray. But do these kinds of products actually work?

Does sore throat spray work?

You may at first be a little sceptical about using a throat spray or not be convinced that it will ease your sore throat. However, these sprays contain a small amount of local anaesthetic that doesn’t just soothe the area but numbs the pain altogether, so you can’t feel it anymore.

GP Dr Paul Stillman[1] claims that throat sprays, such as those in Ultra Chloraseptic’s range, can reduce throat pain within seconds, allowing you to get on with your day. Dr Stillman explains that the anaesthetic used in throat sprays, usually benzocaine, works by blocking the pain pathway[2]. The painful and swollen tissue absorbs the liquid from the spray instantly, providing fast pain relief. The local anaesthetic does not enter the bloodstream in this way, so the numbing sensation doesn’t spread to other parts of your body. It also means that you don’t have to worry about accidentally taking too much, although you should always read the manufacturer’s instructions and stick to their guidelines.

It is important to note that while throat spray temporarily relieves the pain, there are other measures that you can take to soothe your sore throat. You should make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water, as dehydration could make your throat dry and more painful. The NHS recommends that paracetamol is also taken to reduce the effects of a sore throat[3]. These will also help to control your temperature if you have a fever.

You could also try eating cold foods, such as ice cream, or hot foods, such as soup, to ease the pain a bit. If your sore throat is worse at night, you may choose to try these other methods during the day and use your throat spray at night. How you use it is up to you but these sprays are effective at soothing throat pain fast.

Can you use sore throat spray for things other than a sore throat?

The beauty of a throat spray is that it can also work for things other than a sore throat, such as a cough. A cough can often make your throat feel worse and vice versa, so using a throat spray for a cough is a good idea. However, a spray won’t be able to help with symptoms like a stuffy nose, sneezing or a fever. For these symptoms, a decongestant or paracetamol would be better.

Does it matter if you swallow sore throat spray?

A spray should be used as described – sprayed directly into the back of the throat using the nozzle supplied. When it is taken this way, it’s likely that you may swallow a very small amount of it. In small doses, this is fine and almost expected. You should not attempt to drink the contents of these products, though, as ingesting too much of it could be harmful. Additionally, this will also not actually help your throat as the solution won’t have time to numb the sore area, instead going straight into the stomach. This is why the product must always be sprayed. You should also avoid eating or drinking until the numbness wears off.



[2] Singh R, Al Khalili Y. Benzocaine. [Updated 2023 Feb 25]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.