What to look out for
A sore throat is usually a symptom of a viral infection. You may – or may not – also have a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, fever and a tickly cough. Sore throats are common and not usually serious.
Most sore throats will clear up within three to seven days without the need for antibiotics. After a week, nearly 9 in 10 people will be well again.
Occasionally, some sore throats are caused by bacteria. This is known as strep throat. With this, you will usually feel sicker and take longer to get better. Your immune system may clear the strep throat or you may need an antibiotic.
What can you do
Most sore throats can be treated at home. Talk to your pharmacist as over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen and local anaesthetic sprays can usually relieve the pain. It is also important to rest and avoid exercise to allow your body to heal.
Avoid hot food and drinks that could irritate your throat. Eat cool, soft food and drink cool or warm (not hot) liquids. You can also suck lozenges, hard sweets, ice cubes or ice lollies to ease your throat.
When to seek help
Usually, you do not need to see the doctor – but if you still have a sore throat after two weeks, it’s best to get it checked.
If you feel very unwell, you should see your doctor as you may have a strep throat or tonsillitis.
To learn more about sore throats, click here.
As you can probably guess, this website can’t replace the advice you might get from a health professional. If you are worried, please call or visit your GP or pharmacist.