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deni's avatar

I have an extremely bad sore throat that isn't strep or anything that can be cured with a pill. Does anyone know anything that might give me some relief?

Asked by deni (23141points) May 30th, 2010

IM SORRY THIS IS SO LONG!!!!! You can skim it and I think you’ll get the gist.

My boyfriend was sick last week and is still sick now. All I have is a sore throat though which I’ve had since Wednesday that pretty much keeps getting worse. It is honestly one of the most painful things I’ve ever felt. It hurts SO bad that I usually have to hold on to something around me when I’m about to swallow. Example also, it’s 6 AM and I’m in so much pain that I can’t sleep. I’m drinking tea and it’s doing nothing because the pain I feel when I swallow is completely overriding any benefit the tea might have.

Anyhow, I went to the doctor yesterday. It was negative for strep throat and anything else that they could give me a pill to cure. It’s just a normal virus that has to run it’s course she said. She said the best thing to do was just take 600 mg of ibuprofen at a time, and I did that yesterday and it helped significantly. The first time it worked right away while the second time it took about an hour. The problem with this is though, right now for example, my stomach is empty so I can’t take anything. And my throat hurts so bad (so bad that when I swallow I almost vomit and gag) that I can’t eat anything solid to get food in my stomach so that I can take the damn pills.

This just doesn’t seem normal to me, but I’ve gone to a doctor, what else can I do?

To top this all off, I just got home to Pennsylvania for the first time in 5 months. I’m having people over tonight which I’ve had planned for a while, but I don’t know how I’m going to do that when I’m in so much pain that I’m on the verge of tears every hour of the day. I’ve tried taking droppers full of ecinachia which did nothing. Gargling saltwater did absolutely nothing but make me gag way more than it should have. Tea hurts to swallow, soup hurts to eat, I don’t know what to do. I’ve been awake for an hour now and to top it all off the past 5 nights I’ve been sick I’ve gotten shitty sleep and been woken up often by my throat and also had to get up early. last night should have been the first night I could sleep the whole night through, but my throat is so bad that it’s preventing that.

Do you have any suggestions? And god, i’m sorry this is so fucking long, but I feel like it’s all important. I’m supposed to be going to maine Tuesday and I don’t want to feel like a human piece of shit by then, but I’m fresh out of ideas on how to make this better. All I want to do is sit and cry. Boo hoo.

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52 Answers

partyparty's avatar

Try honey and lemon. That won’t hurt when you swallow, and will soothe the hurt.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I feel your pain. When I get sick, it pretty much always starts in my throat and god, it sucks to have a bad sore throat. Some things that have worked for me:

- Hot lemon tea with plenty of honey. The honey will coat your throat and provides a small amount of antibacterial properties.

- Ice cold anything. I usually make sure it’s a juice with a high vitamin C content, both because I like the stinging feeling (I know I’m weird), but also because I’m getting some C.

- Sorbet or popsicles. You could have ice cream, but when you’re sick, it’s better to avoid dairy because it causes extra phlegm.

- Chloroseptic lozenges. I swear by these and they are awesome! Try to get the bigger ones if possible and they will last you a good 5–10 minutes. There is a numbing agent in them, so it will actually help kill the pain for a little while.

deni's avatar

@MissAnthrope I have gone through ¼ a bottle of chloraseptic since Wednesday. It almost always makes my throat feel at least a little better but it’s done nothing for me this time. Same with the numbing cough drops. Yeah, they feel smooth, but that’s it. They don’t really give me any relief. I don’t understand why. :(

MissAnthrope's avatar

@deni – Damn.. that must be one bitch of a sore throat if the numbing drops don’t work. Try the other things.. I once had strep throat but my stupid f-ing job wouldn’t let me stay home (!), so I had to work throughout it. I barely ate anything, of course, but I am not kidding when I say that the hot lemon tea with honey is the only thing that got me through. Thank god we had a coffee/tea station in the office! I drank probably 10 cups of it throughout the day.

I got my karmic justice, though, when my manager caught it from me. I was like, SEE? You should have let me stay home, you dumbasses.

Arisztid's avatar

You have gone to the doctor so now it is symptom relief. Chloraseptic does not work for me either.

Aspergum used to do the trick for me. I swore by it.

They do not make that anymore so I do the po’ man’s version: I take a baby aspirin and put it in some kind of soft gum. I break a baby aspirin in half and put the half in the gum, chew for about 15 minutes, then put the other half in the gum and chew. It works just as well.

Theraflu also works but I am not willing to pay that.

Basically, aspergum (and my variant) and theraflu give your throat a slow aspirin bath.

If you are uncomfortable… see another doctor.

Ltryptophan's avatar

First, medical advice should come from a professional who’s had a chance to see you in person.

When I have a sore throat I take ibuprofen. A doctor can suggest the right amount for you to take. Sore throats are a result of inflammation, and ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory.

Don’t eat anything rough. Get some max strength sucrets. Sleep through it. Take vitamins, especially b and c. Fluids.

Arisztid's avatar

@Ltryptophan She did. From the question: “Anyhow, I went to the doctor yesterday. It was negative for strep throat and anything else that they could give me a pill to cure. It’s just a normal virus that has to run it’s course she said.”

gemiwing's avatar

Honestly, I would get a second opinion. It sounds beyond ‘sore’ and is now solidly into inflamed territory. I would go to urgent care (non ER) and have them take a look at you.

At minimum to make sure you’re not dehydrated since your body would need more fluids and it sounds like it’s torture for you. Easier to get liquid in a bag than to aggravate your throat more. I’m surprised your regular doctor didn’t give you a scrip for throat numbing spray, it works a lot better than the OTC stuff.

Did they draw blood?

sdeutsch's avatar

I’m with @gemiwing – it sounds like a second opinion might be in order. Did your doctor actually test for strep, or did they just look at your throat and decide it wasn’t strep? What you’re describing sounds exactly like strep, and you don’t want to let that go without antibiotics – it can spread and become something worse if it’s not taken care of.

Go to one of the UPMC Urgent Care clinics – they’re really good, and even if they agree that you don’t need antibiotics or anything, they should be able to give you a prescription for something that will help with the pain until the virus runs its course.

Until you get it figured out, drink lots of tea with honey, and try eating some cold pudding – that’s one of the only things I could get down when I had strep as bad as what you’re describing. I hope you feel better soon!

chels's avatar

Oh man this happened to me to the point my tonsils were swollen. My doctor told me it wasn’t strep and to just take Advil and pick up some Zyrtec-D. The Zyrtec helped but my tonsils and throat hurt so bad, and it even hurt taking small pills. Here’s what I did:

They make a stronger chloraseptic in a small bottle. The chloraseptic itself is purple. See if you can find it. It works 10x better than regular chloraseptic.

Drink tea. Like, a lot of it.

Get some Halls cough drops. They now make them with cough syrup in the middle. They work really well.

Grab some Zyrtec-D at the pharmacy, yeah it’s a decongestant, but it helped a shit ton because I had mucus running down the back of my throat irritating it and making it sore.


Kayak8's avatar

I agree with getting the second opinion as well. If you still have your tonsils they could be some of the source of the problem.

The people who make Ensure now make a product called Breeze that is just about like Kool-aid (not milky), but it could help you get something in your belly to allow you to make taking ibuprofen a bit easier on the tummy and allow you to get some calories on board.

As for symptoms, the lemon, salt and other remedies above often help. There is also zinc spray and lozenges as well as apple cider vinegar and water gargle. Most of these remedies reduce bacteria (and doc said it was viral), but they may still help.

I think a second opinion is definitely called for and I might delay the trip—no sense exposing anyone else.

JLeslie's avatar

First, no hot food or liquids. Hot tea and hot soup is for colds (stuff heads and dehydration) Swelling is reduced by cool/cold and the same goes for your throat. You should be drinking ice water if you want to numb up your throat a little and reduce swelling, or popsicles as mentioned above.

Over the counter use chloreseptic spray will give you some relief, You can spray it every half hour. I once took it by the teaspoon full for an esophageal ulcer. Tylenol. If you can get a prescription you can take xylocane, which is magical, but you cannot use it when you sleep.

Lastly, if they only gave you the strep fast test you should not rely on it. You need them to do a proper culture. It is rare to have strep without a fever, but if you have a sore throat for more than 3 days and no congestion, I say strep is still a possibility. Certainly if you have the sore throat for more than a week I think antibiotics are worth a try if a mono test comes back negative, even if the strep test is negative.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@deni – Another thought I had.. did they look in your ears at all? I once had a terrible sore throat, so bad that I thought I had strep and it was actually caused by an ear infection.

deni's avatar

@MissAnthrope they did look in my ears…they didn’t seem to see anything though.

The place I went to was an urgent care center. Since I had only been home literally 2 hours and hadn’t made an appointment before hand because I thought it would have been gone by the time I got home I knew I wouldn’t be able to get an appointment at my actual doctors office. They did test for strep specifically. She said it was negative but that the quick test was only 85% reliable so they did a second and sent it to the lab and are supposed to call me.

@chels I think something like Zyrtec is what I need. She told me to buy something along those lines if I had stuff running down my throat but I didn’t think I did. But what the hell, nothing can hurt now. And I do have some stuff back there.

UGH. GReat great great answers everybody. I’m trying everything.

chels's avatar

@deni Yeah go get some Zyrtec. Also, do a salt water rinse. It’s gross but works wonders.

xxii's avatar

Great answers to everyone else. Gargling with salt water also helps.

deni's avatar

Gargling with saltwater always helps my sore throats. I thought it was a miracle cure too. Now it’s not doing anything though. I’ve been doing it for days!!!!!!!!!!QHASd;fl

chels's avatar

@deni Snort salt water. DO IT. Seriously. It gets rid of mucus.

deni's avatar

@chels like put my nose in a glass of it and snort? hahahaha. hey. whatever works.

gemiwing's avatar

@deni- buy this I use it and it is awesome. Plus- it goes in the nose and skips the throat ;)

ETA- I was also thinking along the lines of sinus infection, wisdom tooth acting up/cavity, inhaled allergen/pollution/exposure. Just kindof surprised they tested for strep and that’s it.

JLeslie's avatar

@deni Are you congested or not? I’m lost a little.

deni's avatar

@JLeslie my nose isn’t stuffed up or running or anything but i am collecting a bit of mucus in the back of my throat. is that postnasal drip? every once in a while i have to cough and snort to get it loose so i can swallow it. its kind of gross but there isn’t a ton of it.

skfinkel's avatar

I thought it took a few days for them to see if strep grew out or not—I don’t know how your doctor could tell so quickly that it wasn’t strep. Maybe there are other ways to tell about strep I don’t know about (me not being that kind of doctor and all). What you are describing sounds really bad.

JLeslie's avatar

@deni I really think you are going to wind up having to go on antibiotics if this does not go away by this coming wednesday. Nothing wrong with trying a neti pot and nasal spray though. If it helps that would be great. Might be the extra thing you need to help your immune system fight it on its own.

@skfinkel There is a strep fast test, but it is fairly innacurate, the real deal is growing the culture 48–72 hours.

deni's avatar

@skfinkel it is really bad. i think strep can be identified not only by a culture or whatever but also by looking in the throat. at least thats what she said. but i think thats why they did a second swab and sent it to the lab, they said it would be more accurate that way.

@JLeslie i was really surprised she did not prescribe me some amoxicillin. isn’t that the standard antibiotic to kill bacteria? but is bacteria different than a virus? either way, i thought to myself, i have this unbelievably horrible sore throat, and there is nothing that can be done?

MissAnthrope's avatar

@deni – I believe viruses cause flu, bacteria cause colds. If it’s a virus, you can get a prescription, but you have to take it within the first couple of days of being sick, after that it doesn’t work.

JLeslie's avatar

@deni Well, I think you went when you were still in the early days of the illness, so I think better to see if it clears on its own, except I might have made an exception since you are travelling and given you a prescription to fill Monday if it has not gotten any better. Kind of let the patient decide. I cannot remember if Amox alone kills strep. Augmentin (amoxil clauvanate) would be a more sure fire hit against whatever it might be, assuming it is bacterial.

dealrrr's avatar

your immune system can heal you, so boost it with echinecea.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@dealrrr – You’re correct to a point (and I’m sorry to contradict you). My mom worked in the herbal supplement industry for about 20 years and is pretty much an expert. She says that echinacea should be taken before getting sick, or perhaps the first day when you begin to feel sick. After that, it’s not worth taking because she said “it boosts your immune system, but when your immune system is down from being sick, there is nothing there to boost.” I believe she told me at that point (once you’re definitely sick), you should take goldenseal.

trumi's avatar

Chloraseptic ruuules. Had mono last fall, without it I would have killed myself.

dealrrr's avatar

your immune system never breaks down completly, it just weakens. i use echinecea it never fails.

Merriment's avatar

You could contact the urgent care Doctor and explain to him that the pain is unbearable and ask him to prescribe some viscous lidocaine. It’s like prescription strength Chloraseptic spray and is made to be swallowed in small amounts so it numbs the throat further back.

JLeslie's avatar

@Merriment is right, that is what I mentioned above, the xylocaine. But, again, you cannot use it while sleeping. It effectively numbs the are, no pain at all, basically no feeling.

@deni Does it hurt more when you swallow, eat, drink?

deni's avatar

@JLeslie yeah when i’m not swallowing it doesn’t actually hurt at all. so it’s only when i swallow. which sucks…because i cant eat…

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t have anything to add to the above advice except sympathy. A big dose of it. There, there. I’m sorry you feel so bad, sweetie, and I’d hug it away if I could. Rest up and get better.

I love sympathy. It always helps me feel better. There are some things even chocolate can’t do.

deni's avatar

@Jeruba you are such a peach.

JLeslie's avatar

@deni sounding more and more like strep or mono. Or, some strange thing that is not common. Did the doc do a blood test?

JLeslie's avatar

Blood test would be to diagnose mono, but I am guessing you are not overly exhausted since you have not mentioned it. Mono is one of the common my throat is killing me illnesses, but you don’t seem to have other symptoms that go along with it, which is probably why the doctor did not bother with the blood test.

Is your throat any better today?

deni's avatar

I woke up a few hours ago because my mom came in the room for something and she asked if it was better at all. I swallowed once and it felt significantly better but still not good and I was so happy I almost cried. Then I went back to sleep….now that I am up it is exactly the same as the past 5 days and I again want to cry. :[

I don’t think it’s mono either. I’ve been getting the worst nights sleep because it’s hard to fall asleep with my throat being like this…and I haven’t really been tired during the day despite that.

I’m desperate.

JLeslie's avatar

Call the doctor, tell him the sore throat persists. I think he will call in an antibiotic for you. This is too long. It’s not going away.

JLeslie's avatar

Are you better yet?

deni's avatar

yeah!!! :) it continued to be horrible until this past wednesday, when the doctors office called and said my results were in and the test was negative for strep but positive for a bacteria called enterobacter cloacae…she said she never saw it in the throat before and it usually had to do with urinary tract infections and respiratory infections. neither of which i had. anyhow i caved and got an antibiotic and was better the next day. i think maybe i have never been so thankful to be able to do something as simple as swallow, haha.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Glad to hear it! That was pretty awful.

deni's avatar

oh my god thank you, me too, i’m SO RELIEVED!

shirley1's avatar

I have the same sore throat I cant eat anything at all!!!And what date did you guys write this?

deni's avatar

This was over two years ago. If it is the same thing I had, go to an urgent care place IMMEDIATELY!

armadillo17's avatar

I had the exact same problem. Negative result for strep—both the quickie test AND the longer lab test——as well as negative results for everything! Yet, terrible pain in the throat. Doc prescribed Codeine Tylenol for the pain, which does work. It is easier on your stomach than plain old aspirin, which also works, but I can’t take too much aspirin or I start getting stomach pains. If it is a virus, antibiotics will do nothing. I have had gradually lessening pain for about two weeks now, it is almost gone, but not quite. quite simply, they don’t know what it is. They suggested acid reflux, which i don’t have. At one point the doctor looked at me point blank and asked, “Do you snort?” i was indignant, but I guess they have to ask.

peachfuzz902's avatar

Deni – I have the EXACT EVERYTHING you are describing…......... I have been to two dr’s and both negative for strep and i can barely eat it’s so so so painful and have a trip coming up in a few days…. what antibiotic did they prescribe you that helped?? PLEASE any answer would be so appreciated!

deni's avatar

I remember the bacteria they finally ended up finding in mine was Enterobacter Cloace (something like that…its been a while). The specific antibiotic I honestly can’t remember but it was like 6 pills total I wanna say. My boyfriend had the same thing and he got a different antibiotic from his doctor so I’m sure there’s multiple that will help. Good luck, sorry to hear you fell victim to this crappy thing as well!!

Marla22's avatar

That’s nothing to do with your throat (Enterobacter Cloace) and if your throat was that painful, you would have remembered what caused it.
I had sore throat so bad it was unbearable almost but was an ear infection

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