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Patient Instructions for cough, sore throat and ear pain


How can I treat coughing?

Cough medicine, cough drops, and throat lozenges can temporarily relieve coughing and sore throat.  Cough medicines with “DM” can help decrease a cough – however if wheezing is a significant part of the cough or if the cough is much worse at night a patient might benefit from an inhaler – such as albuterol or ventolin.  These inhalers are used for asthma – but this is not a permanent thing and as soon as the worst of the cough is over they can be stopped.

How can I treat a severe sore throat?

If sore throat is the primary symptom of your illness you should have an online visit for evaluation of strept throat.  Strept can have serious consequences and we would give antibiotics if it’s a Strep Infection.  Strept Throat usually is found with a high fever and no cough, there is usually no ear pain or nasal congestions.  Another serious sore throat can be caused by the Epstein Barr Virus – this is more commonly called mononucleosis.  It’s a viral infection and antibiotics will not help him.

How can I treat a severe ear pain?

An ear infection can be painful and cause a fever.  If you have a high fever (over 101 degrees) with serious ear pain it could be an ear infection.  These infects CAN be bacterial and sometimes antibiotics are required.   However most ear pain – especially if it is found with a sore throat or nasal congestions is simply the result of a close eustachian tube.  The tube gets closed where there is swelling or inflammation at the back of the nose or mouth. So ear pain that feels like pressure is often a pressure created by closing of the eustachian tube.  You can chew gum to open it up or try “popping” your ears.  

What about taking combinations over-the-counter medicines?

Many over-the-counter medications contain the same active ingredients. If you take several medicines with the same active ingredient you might be taking more than the recommended dose. This can cause serious health problems. Read all labels carefully.

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