Over-the-Counter Numbing Spray
Try it when: Every swallow aches a little.
How it works: When the spray hits your throat, the ingredient phenol (a local anesthetic) gives instant, albeit temporary, relief. “These sprays deaden the area for a couple of hours, so if you have a very irritated, inflamed throat, they make it feel better fast,” says Tucker. Try Chloraseptic Sore Throat Spray ($7, cvs.com).
Good to know: These sprays simply mask the pain. They don’t treat the underlying problem, help your immune system, or shorten the duration of symptoms.