Not sure what you can take to ease your sore throat, cough or flu symptoms without triggering an IC flare?

Every few years we survey patients to find out what works best for them. This year, more than 100 patients shared their best cold and flu tips and strategies. In general, products containing honey were, by far, the popular favorite. Patients preferred to take a more natural approach than traditional medicine, including the use of sinus washes, humidifiers, essential oils, herbal teas and the like. That said, there are clear moments when traditional therapies and products are required particularly as patients may struggle with influenza (i.e. Tamiflu) and bacterial infection (i.e. antiobiotics). Here is a summary of the results. (A more extensive list and discussion will appear in our Winter 2019 IC Optimist magazine. Become A Member Today!)

Favorite Sore Throat Products

  • Honey Lozenges 41%
  • Ricola Lozenges 37%
  • Ludens 21%
  • Cloraseptic Spray or Lozenge 20%
  • Zinc 14%

Of course, honey products and lozenges (Pine Brothers, Zarbees) topped the list not only as bladder friendly but also calming and soothing to a tender, painful throat with 41% of patients preferring them. Ricola Lozenges came in a close second at 37%. Ludens and Cloraseptic Spray received 20%, Zinc 14%, Cepacol (8%) and Sucrets 4%. 

Other alternative products mentioned include: doTERRA On Guard Protecting Throat Drops, Boiron ThroatCalm, Pine Brothers Honey Throat Drops, Zarbees, Open Nature.

Favorite OTC Cough Products

In their comments, IC’ers mentioned honey frequently, including: herbal tea with honey, hot water with honey, pine brothers honey throat drops, Boiron Chestal Honey Congestion Syrup and, in desperate times, whiskey with honey. The use of cool mist humidifiers were popular as well as throat drops with menthol and guafenisen. Buckley’s Cough products, Mucinex, Adult Tussin and the old stand by, Vicks VapoRub were also popular.  

Flavor of Drops 

  • Honey 70%
  • Cherry 25%
  • Menthol 19%
  • Lemon 8%

Favorite DeCongestion Products

  • Mucinex 38%
  • Vicks Vaporub 36%
  • Sudafed 14%
  • Vicks Nyquil 6%

Multiple patients reported that saline nasal washes were essential to their recovery. The doTerra “Breathe Blend” product line received several positive mentions.  Olbas oil, Benadryl plus decongestant, Advil cold & sinus, tea tree oil, Tylenol cold/ sinus and Traditional Medicinals “Breathe Easy” herbal tea were mentioned briefly.

One IC patient reported that Sudafed caused her “massive flares” but that she does well more natural products like Vicks Vaporub. Another patient uses peppermint oil tabbed below her nostrils. She also steams water with “a couple of drops of oregano oil.” Another patient prefers a eucalyptus oil in a diffuser.

What do you turn to when you can’t stop coughing? 

And the winner is, again, all things honey combined with a healthy dab of Vicks Vaporub! In this question, we asked patients to share their tips and tricks for coughs that won’t stop. The list below is a summary of the responses that we received.

  • I do a breathing treatment, use Vicks Vaporub and see the doctor if necessary for prescription cough syrup.
  • hot water with honey
  • hot chamomile tea with honey
  • hot mint tea with honey
  • mucinex and peppermint hard candies
  • honey lemon in hot water
  • Delsym always stops my cough
  • Codeine cough syrup
  • Peppermint candy
  • Albuterol inhaler
  • Honey stick
  • Water and Halls Mentholyptus lozenges
  • Cloraseptic spray and lozenges
  • Strong tea laced with bourbon, honey and lemon juice
  • Buckley’s 
  • I drink tons of chicken broth, tea with honey and a little lemon. NO COFFEE
  • Celestial Seasonings Blueberry Tea
  • Vicks Vaporub
  • Robitussin 8 hour cough
  • Robitussin Maximum Strength
  • honey, lemon and frankincense
  • Ricola cough drops & honey in hot water
  • Boiron cough liquid with honey
  • Cinnamon whiskey
  • Benzonatate RX
  • Elderberry, ginger, honey, turmeric tea
  • Chicken broth with turmeric
  • Hot, hot showe