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Can Coughing Cause Sore Throats?

Are you experiencing a sore throat and a cough at the same time? Having a sore throat is unpleasant and can put a damper on your day or week. Sore throats can cause pain and irritation. They can also cause a scratchy feeling in your throat or pain when you swallow.1 Learn if sore throats can be caused by coughing and how you can relieve a sore throat.

Man experiencing throat pain

Can Coughing Make Your Throat Sore?

Infections can cause a sore throat. Infections can cause a variety of other symptoms including:1

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Body aches
  • Sneezing

But can coughing on its own cause throat pain? The answer is yes—coughing can cause throat pain. Coughing irritates your voice box’s tissue. This can cause even more coughing.2 Vocal injury or muscle tension can also result in throat irritation.2

What Else Can Cause a Sore Throat?

There are a variety of things that can cause a sore throat such as:1

  • Viral infections like the flu or a cold
  • Bacterial infections like strep throat
  • Allergies
  • Dry air
  • Outdoor air pollution
  • Tobacco smoke or alcohol

How to Soothe a Sore Throat

You can try making lifestyle changes or use home remedies to relieve a sore throat. To soothe a sore throat, here’s what we recommend:3

  • Reach for a Medi-soother. Sucking on a lozenge or cough drop can help soothe your cough. New Robitussin Medi-soothers Honey Lemon and Robitussin Medi-soothers Elderberry provides quick relief AND treats your cough and sore throat pain for up to four hours. These cough drops are medicated and can help ease your cough with soothing ingredients and great flavors.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids help maintain a moist throat. Try warm liquids like caffeine-free tea with honey. Avoid dehydrating liquids like caffeine and alcohol.
  • Gargle with saltwater. Warm salt water can relieve a sore throat. Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt with 4 to 8 ounces of warm water. Spit out the solution after gargling it.
  • Use a humidifier. Dry air can irritate a sore throat. Using a cool air humidifier can moisten the air to soothe your throat. Don’t have a humidifier? Try sitting in a steamy bathroom for a few minutes.
  • Get enough rest. Rest your voice and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
  • Steer clear of irritants. Irritants like cigarette smoke or certain cleaning products can further bother your throat.
  • Take over-the-counter cough medicine. Stop your sore throat at the source with cough medicine. Consider Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough and Chest Congestion DM. This daytime formula provides fast and effective cough relief.

How to Prevent a Sore Throat

Prevent a sore throat with the right steps and precautions. Follow these tips to thwart a sore throat:3

  • Don’t touch your face. It’s especially important to avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth.
  • Wash your hands. Washing your hands can prevent the spread of germs. It’s important to wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Always wash your hands before and after eating. You should also make sure to wash your hands after coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Use hand sanitizer. When you can’t wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean items regularly. Any item that is frequently touched should be disinfected often. Clean your phone, computer keyboard, light switches, doorknobs, etc.
  • Avoid people who are sick. Don’t come into contact with those who exhibit symptoms of illness.

When to See a Doctor for a Sore Throat

Sore throats are common and aren’t necessarily cause for concern. However, you should see a doctor if you have any of the following:1

  • Sore throat that lasts longer than 7 days or is severe
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • A fever higher than 101 F
  • Repeated sore throats
  • An earache
  • Facial swelling

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if they determine your sore throat is the result of a bacterial infection.3

To explore the wide range of Robitussin products that can help relieve your cough and sore throat and read other insightful articles, head to our Cough and Cold Center

Source Citations:

  1. Mayo Clinic. Sore Throat - Symptoms and Causes. Accessed 5/18/2023.
  2. Duke Health. Chronic Cough and Throat Irritation. Accessed 5/18/2023.
  3. Mayo Clinic. Sore throat - Diagnosis and Treatment. Accessed 5/18/2023.
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