Throat lozenges, also commonly referred to as cough drops, are used to moisten and soothe a person's throat. People frequently use throat lozenges when they have throat irritation resulting from a cold, the flu or allergies. Cough drops can help to ease a sore or dry throat and can temporarily keep a person's cough at bay. Classic throat lozenges are hard, the same consistency as a piece of hard candy. They are meant to be sucked on until they dissolve and should not be chewed or swallowed whole.
Cough drops are sold over the counter and come in several varieties. Common flavors of throat lozenges include cherry, lemon, strawberry and citrus. Some brands and flavors of cough drops taste more medicine-like than others, so a person may want to try a few different brands until he finds one that tastes pleasant. Some cough drops contain properties that numb a person's throat so the pain is less noticeable. This type can be ideal if a person still needs to work at a job that involves a lot of talking while his throat is sore.
Some types of throat lozenges contain vitamin C. This kind of cough drop can be beneficial if a person has a lingering cold, because vitamin C can help to boost a person's immune system. Many throat drops also are available in sugar-free versions that can be ideal for diabetics.
It is important for a person to remember that although cough drops may look like candy, and some brands may even taste similar to candy, throat lozenges are meant to be used for medical purposes only. One typically should not suck on a seemingly endless supply of cough drops. Instead, he should read the package and follow the instructions on how many throat lozenges it is safe to use during the course of a day.
Lozenges are just an aid to help a person control symptoms of an illness. A common cold takes time to go away. A person with a cold needs to be sure to drink a lot of liquids and to get plenty of rest. If a person has a more serious issue, such as an infection, then he needs to see a doctor for an antibiotic. Using throat lozenges will only mask symptoms of a throat issue for so long and cannot cure an infection.