Sore Throats

What causes a sore throat?

Sore throats are normally caused by bacterial or viral infections. Sore throats are a common condition, with most people having at least two or three every year. They tend to be more common among children and teenagers. This is because young people have not built up immunity against many of the viruses and bacteria that can cause sore throats.
Most sore throats are not serious and pass within 3-7 days without the need for medical treatment. Over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol, can be purchased from your local pharmacy and will usually help to relieve the symptoms of a sore throat. Added to this, maintaining a good oral health regime can be beneficial in aiding prevention.
Sore throats - health advice

What are the symptoms?

Signs of a sore throat include:
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Enlarged and tender glands in your neck
  • A painful, tender feeling at the back of your throat
  • Discomfort upon swallowing

Other associated symptoms include:

  • A high temperature
  • Aching muscles
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Cough/runny nose

Treating a sore throat

  • Keep the throat lubricated by swallowing and drinking plenty of fluids. This can also be achieved by sucking lozenges or hard boiled sweets
  • Avoid smoking and smoky atmospheres
  • Gargle with salty water
  • Over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen are usually recommended to treat a sore throat and can be found in your local pharmacy
If you have a sore throat, you should make an appointment to see your GP if:
  • Your symptoms do not improve after two weeks
  • You have frequent sore throats that do not respond to painkillers, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, or aspirin
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