- Pain in your throat
- Discomfort when swallowing
- Enlarged and tender glands in your neck
- Swollen tonsils
What causes a sore throat?
Most sore throats are caught from people already infected with a virus or bacterial infection. For example the common cold is caught when an infected person sneezes, coughs or speaks near you, showering you with tiny droplets of fluid that contain the cold virus. The viruses which cause the common cold are responsible for a quarter of all sore throats.
How to treat a sore throat?
- Although troublesome, most sore throats get better on their own within a few days.
- Painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin can reduce pain and soreness. Aspirin should not be given to children under 16.
- If a sore throat is persistent or seems to be getting worse then you may have a bacterial infection that requires a visit to a doctor who may prescribe antibiotics. The bacteria streptococci is responsible for around 10% of sore throats.
- A GP may run further tests if a sore throat has lasted more than three weeks, to check for other medical causes.
- Sore throats can also occur as a result of allergies or because the throat is irritated from smoking or due to gastro-oesophageal reflux (where stomach acid gets regurgitated).
Alternative Remedies & Self-Help
- Drink plain water at frequent intervals to keep your throat moist and to help swallowing.
- Warm tea with honey may help ease symptoms and help keep the throat lubricated
- Try gargling with salt water.
- Avoid talking, but if you must talk, speak quietly to lessen pressure on your throat.
- Throat pastilles or lozenges may provide some relief.
- Sucking an ice-cube or ice-lolly may temporarily ease soreness.