Can I Eat Ice Cream If I Have a Sore Throat?

Ice cream may numb and sooth your sore throat.
Image Credit: warrengoldswain/iStock/Getty Images

Since most sore throats are caused by a virus and do not require antibiotic treatment, home remedies are an important consideration in the management of pharyngitis, or sore throat. Eating the right types of foods can ease a scratchy, aching throat. Cold foods such as ice cream are commonly recommended to soothe and numb a sore throat, although certain types of ice cream may cause irritation.

Home Remedies for Sore Throat

According to the January 2013 issue of " Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement," home remedies for the treatment of sore throat include taking a pain reliever, sucking on throat lozenges to ease pain and gargling with warm salt water. Eating soft, non-irritating foods, sucking on hard candy or ice, eating frozen desserts such as popsicles or ice cream and drinking cool or warm liquids may help numb the painful area or soothe the sore throat.

How Ice Cream May Help

When you're having throat pain, you may find that ice cream soothes your throat. Like other frozen desserts, ice cream can numb the throat and give you temporary relief. Ice cream may also simply be a non-irritating food to consume when your throat hurts. Since the pain of a sore throat can get in the way of eating enough, the extra calories from frozen desserts might not be a concern in the short-term. Despite this common recommendation to consume frozen desserts as a sore throat remedy, quality research isn't yet available that proves a benefit.

Potential Problems

While you may be able to enjoy ice cream when you have a sore throat, certain choices can cause irritation. For example, ice cream with nuts, cookie bits or other candy toppings may be difficult to swallow or irritating to the throat. Ultra sweet ice cream desserts, such as those with caramel or fudge sauce, may be more irritating to an inflamed throat. If you have a milk intolerance or allergy, ice cream isn't a good choice for you, but non-dairy frozen desserts such as sorbet or popsicle can achieve the same results. Ultimately you will need to determine the self-care that works well for you.

Warnings and Precautions

While frozen desserts may help ease sore throat pain, if you have diet restrictions, discuss the use of ice cream with your doctor or dietitian. Although most sore throats are caused by a virus, a severe sore throat may be caused by a bacteria and require medical attention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if your sore throat is accompanied by a fever, a rash, swollen lymph nodes, inflamed tonsils, nausea or vomiting or if it lasts more than 7 days, see your doctor to rule out strep throat. In addition, if you have recurrent sore throats or hoarseness that lasts more than 2 weeks, see your doctor.

Reviewed by: Kay Peck, MPH, RD

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911. If you think you may have COVID-19, use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker before leaving the house.