Sore Throat Pain? Which is better, Cold or Heat?

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Prof. Ron Eccles — the previously director of the Common Cold Centre in the School of Biosciences at the University of Cardiff in the United Kingdom — is an expert in all things to do with the common cold.

Ice pops lower the temperature of the nerve endings in the throat, thereby reducing the pain signals. This method also activates a receptor called transient receptor potential melastin 8, which results in pain relief.

What makes hot drinks so special, though? “Hot drinks are more tasty than cool drinks and promote more salivation and the sensory impact may provide a greater placebo effect in soothing pain,” he explained.  I asked him whether ice pops — or ice lollies, as they are called in the U.K. — are a good option for sore throat. He said, “Yes, ice lollies would be a good treatment for sore throat as they have a local cooling effect on inflamed tissues and may have a specific inhibitory effect on pain-sensitive nerves in the throat.”

In a 2013 article, Prof. Eccles explained the biology in more detail. Ice pops lower the temperature of the nerve endings in the throat, thereby reducing the pain signals. This method also activates a receptor called transient receptor potential melastin 8, which results in pain relief.

Prof. Eccles explained to MNT what happens when we drink fluids while experiencing a sore throat. “Drinks are good for sore throat,” he said, “as they promote salivation and help lubricate the throat.”

What makes hot drinks so special, though? “Hot drinks are more tasty than cool drinks and promote more salivation and the sensory impact may provide a greater placebo effect in soothing pain,” he explained.

Prof. Eccles tested this in a study of 30 patients, who reported that a hot fruit drink gave them immediate and long-lasting relief from their sore throat.  “Hot sweet drinks may work by increasing the levels of opioid pain killers in the pain areas of the brain,” added Prof. Eccles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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