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Covid question - extreme sore throat

I’m calling on COTH wisdom.

A family member (age 56) has Covid. His most troubling symptom is a sore throat that he says is off the charts–incredibly painful and burning–making it agony to drink or eat (he is managing to get small amounts of ice cream down).

He’s taking liquid ibuprofen but it’s not doing much.

Questions: Has anyone else had this kind of horrible sore throat with Covid? Is there any medication (prescription or otherwise) that will be more effective than ibuprofen?

Thank you for any info anyone can share.

Not sure about that being a covid syptom but I get strep every year really bad. They give me a taper pack of pred that is literally life changing for me.

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I had a very painful sore throat when I had Covid, I gargled w hot salt water- as hot and salty as I could stand without gagging.I hope this helps.


That, may be more than covid at play, ask your dr about something for a terribly sore throat.
I had one of those some 20 years ago, never found out what it was, negative to cultures, mononucleosis, etc.
As you, it was off the charts sore, could hardly breathe without pain, much less drink or eat anything.

There is relief for you out there, bug your doctor about how bad it is, to give you something for it.
Hope is over soon, that is miserable.

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I remember reading that Covid can cause an extremely sore throat. And when my sister had Covid she said it was the worst sore throat of her life.

To treat sore throat, my grandmother used to recommend dill pickle juice. I’ve tried it and it really does work, but the effect doesn’t last long. Don’t guzzle it–just let it trickle down your throat.

A honey/lemon juice mixture can also be soothing.

Is your family member on Paxlovid? That might at least shorten the duration.

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I think it’s too late for Paxlovid–day 5-6.

Thank you to all who have responded. It’s very helpful.

He can try a “magic mouthwash”…the OTC version is to mix equal parts liquid benedryl and maloxx. There are prescription versions that might add in lidocaine or antibiotic.

It really does help calm it down (I’ve used it for other infections that have caused a sore throat so bad you can’t swallow much).

Maybe Gaviscon liquid? It’s for acid reflux but does coat the throat.

I’ve used sore throat spray that numbed. Over the counter, drug store stuff, bright green liquid. This was a while ago, and I haven’t looked for it since.

Thank you to all. The after-hours nurse line was called, and she did not seem to feel any dr. visit or prescriptions were in order because “he’s a healthy guy with no risk factors.”

However, another family member had a consultation with the pharmacist, and came home with two sprays that are supposed to have numbing effects.

I feel grateful to pharmacists who are willing to advise and help, especially on a weekend where there’s little chance of getting a doctor.


I think that pharmacists are an under-used resource. There’s one right there in the store, they’ve got the training, and they probably know the store stock.

Glad to hear that some help was forthcoming, although it wasn’t from the place you were supposed to get it.

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Tonsils can develop abscesses. It may need doctor eyes on particularly if not responding to the usual.

Salt water gargle and salty soup are two ways to help pull down edema

Hot compresses of the neck might help, too

When I had covid I had the worst sore throat of my life. It was awful. I also had the most soul crushing headache I’ve ever had. I honestly was sicker than I thought a human could be and live…

That sounds truly terrible. Did you get any treatment for the sore throat or headache?

Yes, I had an extremely sore and swollen throat with it back in March. It’s apparently a hallmark of the Omicron BA.5 variant. Eating, drinking, and even swallowing my own spit were very painful. I mainly ate popsicles for a week. The doctor gave me an anti-inflammatory which I found was not very good. Advil Cold and Sinus actually gave more relief (I had been taking it when I had symptoms start, and switched back to it once I finished with Paxlovid and I didn’t have to worry about any kind of interactions.)

The sore throat was the first thing I noticed and also pretty much the last symptom to leave. Then I had covid tongue and the back of my tongue was swelling. All told the soreness/swelling issues probably lasted for most of a month. It was kind of scary because I felt like it might never improve!

No, I just had to get through it. Wouldn’t wish Covid on anyone

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