It can take one to two weeks to recover from the common cold. In the meantime, cherry lozenges can help relieve some of the the symptoms. When choosing the best cherry lozenge, you should take into account your symptoms and whether you will be doing a lot of speaking or singing while you are taking them.
Cherry lozenges and other throat lozenges are used to temporarily relieve a sore throat. They are useful to relieve symptoms caused by cold, influenza, or voice strain. Some may also provide the body with essential vitamins, such as vitamin C.
Although the cherry lozenge is still a staple of medicine cabinets in many places, lozenges now come in a multitude of flavors and colors. The active ingredient in cherry lozenges varies from brand to brand. They can contain natural ingredients like menthol and pectin, vitamins and minerals like zinc and vitamin C, or stronger drugs like benzocaine.
When taking cherry lozenges or any other health-care treatment, it is best to use the gentlest treatment possible. This will minimize the occurrence of side effects. Although throat lozenges and cough drops are generally safe, side effects can occur, especially if they are used for extended periods of time.
If your only symptom is a mild sore throat, cherry lozenges containing pectin are a good choice. Pectin is a carbohydrate extracted from fruit. The pectin forms a film to soothe irritated parts of the throat. It has no medicinal taste and no known side effects.
For sore throat accompanied by congestion or coughing, menthol may be a better choice. Menthol is a natural cooling agent extracted from mint. It interacts with sensors in your nose to reduce the frequency and severity of cough. The only drawback to menthol lozenges is the strong taste. The only known side effect is a rare hypersensitivity.
Lozenges containing benzocaine are best for treating the most severe sore throats. This is the same drug used by doctors as an oral anesthetic. Although generally very safe, benzocaine does have some documented side effects. These include swelling, rash, and hives.
To avoid voice strain, it is best to minimize speaking and singing with a sore throat. If you must must do a lot of speaking or singing, it is best to avoid lozenges that contain menthol. Menthol dries the throat, making singing and speaking more difficult. The numbness cause by benzocaine-based lozenges may also affect voice control. Pectin, zinc, or herb-based lozenges are best in this case.
When using zinc-based lozenges, there are a few precautions to keep in mind. If used for longer than five days, zinc can cause mouth irritation and upset stomach. When used longer than six weeks, zinc can sometimes cause copper deficiency.