How Do I Treat Cough and Sore Throat if I Have COVID-19?

Published: July 12, 2022
Mary Ann Kliethermes
By Mary Ann Kliethermes, PharmD

Having a cough and a sore throat are commonly associated with COVID-19. A cough is the body’s way of removing irritants that enter the lung, such as the COVID-19 virus. A cough may also be caused by excess mucus running down the back of your throat. Your body produces mucus to trap the virus and get it out of your body. At this time, there are no medications that cure the COVID-19 infection. However, there are things you can do to feel better.

To treat a cough and sore throat caused by COVID-19, focus on:

  1. Get plenty of rest to help your body get the energy it needs to fight the infection.


  2. Drink lots of fluids to help thin mucus and keep your throat moist. Examples include water, tea, or broth.


  3. Take over-the-counter (OTC) remedies
  • If you have a sore throat and have COVID-19, sucking on hard candy or cough drops may help soothe irritation in your throat.
  • A sore throat spray that contains phenol may reduce pain and irritation.
  • If you have a cough, a humidifier can add moisture to the air, which may ease coughing.
  • Some studies suggest that OTC cough products with dextromethorphan may help reduce the severity of a dry cough.
  • Dextromethorphan products are not recommended in children under four years of age. 

A pharmacist’s tips

  • Carefully read the drug facts label for each medication, including OTC medications, to identify the ingredients in the product. This is especially important when purchasing combination cough and cold medications to avoid accidentally taking too much of a medication.
  • Talk to your pharmacist or another healthcare provider if you have any questions about your medications.
  • If you or a loved one is experiencing trouble breathing, pressure in your chest, or new confusion, call 911 for immediate medical attention.

Click here for ways to treat other COVID-19 symptoms such as tiredness, sudden loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, fever, and body aches.




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