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Is Coffee Good for Sore Throats? Facts & Tips

a cup of coffee

One of the worst things is to wake up from a restful sleep and notice that your throat is a bit scratchy. As the day continues, it is difficult to swallow and your throat just feels yucky overall. Unfortunately, that means you have caught yourself with a sore throat. Now, before you panic and instantly think you have strep throat, settle down. Not all sore throats are instantly strep. Sometimes, they just happen. Luckily, if it isn’t strep, there are things you can do to help ease your pain and function with the discomfort.

For those who enjoy a nice cup of coffee each morning, you may be asking yourself is coffee good for sore throats? The honest answer? It’s according to who you ask. Some feel that avoiding high levels of caffeine when you have a sore throat is good for you. Others, well, they say that you can use coffee with a bit of honey, to help ease the pain.

One thing is for sure, having a cup of coffee with a sore throat isn’t going to send you to the emergency room or anything. It is truly all about your personal preferences and just how irritated your throat is. Let’s learn more below so you can decide whether you should steer clear of your morning cup of joe while you’re sick or continue with your normal morning routine.

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What Is a Sore Throat?

Pharyngitis, or a sore throat, is inflammation in the area at the back of your throat where the pharynx is located. This inflammation can be caused by several things. Yeast, bacteria, and even viruses can all cause your throat to be sore. This makes your sore throat more of a symptom. While you may not be suffering from a full-blown cold or something worse like strep throat, the pain can still keep you home from work or school and can be quite difficult to control.

Unfortunately, according to Healthline, more sore throats occur due to a viral infection. Why is this unfortunate? A viral infection can’t be treated by antibiotics. This leaves you simply treating the pain. When your sore throat is found to be thanks to a bacteria, which antibiotics can treat, that is usually when your simple sore throat is actually the beast that is strep throat. If that’s the diagnosis, antibiotics and rest can get you mended. If your issue is viral, you must understand the symptoms and let the virus run its course.

woman touching painful neck with sore throat
Image Credit: Ahmet Misirligul, Shutterstock

Drink Plenty of Fluids

One of the first things your doctor or pharmacist will tell you when suffering from a sore throat is to drink plenty of fluids. Why is this so crucial? First off, the moisture will help ease the pain in your throat. Secondly, when you’re suffering from a sore throat, it’s natural to avoid swallowing as much as possible. This can cause a person to become dehydrated, which isn’t a good thing. Keeping fluids in you, even with the discomfort is the best course of treatment.

While trying to stay hydrated, you may wonder whether you should opt for cold drinks or hot drinks? Honestly, it doesn’t matter. The key is to stay hydrated. If a hot tea or coffee with a bit of honey feels soothing on your throat, enjoy it. If it’s the middle of summer and you’re craving a cool drink, by all means, have it. Just keep in mind that carbonated drinks and those with heavy citrus can be more painful and are best to avoid when your throat is inflamed.

How Does Coffee Affect Your Sore Throat?

Now, here’s where we get to the part coffee enthusiasts with a sore throat have been waiting for. Can you drink coffee with a sore throat? The answer, as we’ve mentioned, is yes. It truly doesn’t matter whether you choose hot or cold coffee, either. It’s whatever feels best on your throat. Many will suggest that drinking caffeinated drinks while suffering from a sore throat isn’t the best option, but, if we’re honest, it isn’t going to make matters worse. On the contrary, coffee could help.

In a study performed by the Primary Care Respiratory Journal in 2013, it appears that coffee with honey added eased coughing, which is a known companion of sore throat. During the study, this mixture was consumed every 8 hours and seemed to even do better than certain medications. With both honey and coffee helping with throat irritation, this concoction could be the help you need to get through a long day suffering from a sore throat.

cropped woman holding a cup of coffee and saucer
Image Credit: Anna Nekrashevich, Pexels

Other Treatments for Sore Throat

Now that we’ve decided coffee, especially with a little honey mixed in, is safe to drink when dealing with a sore throat, let’s look at a few other things you can do to get a little relief. Of course, one of the main things is to treat your pain. Using an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen is great for this. Here’s a look at the other steps you can take to find a bit of relief.

  • Drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated
  • Try eating warm broth
  • Gargle salt water (1 teaspoon of salt per 8 ounces of water is recommended)
  • Use a humidifier in your home
  • Get plenty of rest
  • See a physician if symptoms last more than a week

How to Avoid a Sore Throat

It’s easy for people to pick up viruses and bacteria throughout a normal day. Still, if you want to avoid the pain associated with a sore throat, there are a few things you can do to help keep yourself healthier and free of irritation.

  • Don’t share food, drink, or utensils
  • Avoid other people who are sick
  • Wash your hands
  • Use hand sanitizer with an alcohol base when you can’t wash your hands
  • Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke when possible

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Final Thoughts on Coffee and Sore Throats

As you can see, drinking coffee with a sore throat isn’t the worst thing to do. In fact, if you add a bit of honey, it could be quite helpful. The main thing when dealing with a sore throat is to stay hydrated. If a warm coffee is one of the liquids you can drink without a lot of pain and irritation, go for it. Hopefully, your sore throat will go away in a few days and you’ll feel good as new.

Featured Image Credit: PactoVisual, Pixabay


Melissa Gunter

Melissa has been a fan of coffee since the first sip she stole from her Granny's cup when she was just a girl. Now, she spends each morning writing with a hot cup of coffee at her side. With a love of sweet and creamy bliss, Melissa and her daughter, Amber, stop by and try out every local coffee shop they see. Neither are afraid to try something new and have a long list of favorite coffee beverages they simply can't do without. When she's not freelance writing about her 2 passions, coffee, and pets, Melissa spends her time with her husband, 2 kids, and 5 fur babies. She also loves diving into the fiction world under her pen name, Rena Marin. If she isn't at the laptop or with the family, Melissa is out enjoying the mountains of East Tennessee she calls home.

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