Sore throat

When your throat starts being scratchy, and it’s sore to swallow, then you know that a dreaded sore throat is on the way. And to add to your woes, suffering from a sore throat often comes hand in hand with other conditions like the common cold.

Sore throats are a frequent condition and are a result of a bacterial or viral infection. When the throat becomes infected by bacteria or viruses, the body’s natural immune response to the infection leads to inflammation and pain.

Because a sore throat is usually associated with another condition, there are often other symptoms that accompany a sore throat. These symptoms may include:

  • Severe swelling or pain
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Yellow or white patches at the back of the throat
  • Blood in the salvia or phlegm
  • High fever
  • Earache
  • Swollen lymph glands in the neck
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Skin rash.

Unfortunately, antibiotics are not normally effective in treating a sore throat because most cases of sore throats are caused by viruses. Sometimes antibiotics are recommended to prevent a secondary bacterial infection.

To help prevent the discomfort of a sore throat, drink plenty of water, get lots of rest, eat a well balanced diet filled with fruits and vegetables and maintain a healthy mouth by brushing your teeth regularly.

Patients should visit their local community pharmacy and find out what medicines are available for helping with the pain. Pain relief may come in the form of tablets, throat gargles, throat sprays and lozenges. Products containing ibuprofen and aspirin are effective pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, however, these treatments aren’t safe for everybody. Check with your community pharmacist about what medicines are safe for you. Regular paracetamol also helps relieve pain and fever.

You should recover from a sore throat within seven days and begin to feel better after three days. If you have other medical conditions such as diabetes, have not recovered after seven days, if your young child or baby is sick, if you are unable to swallow water or saliva, or if you have neck pain, consult your doctor immediately.

Of course you can try and stop a sore throat in its tracks by:

  • Practicing good hygiene
  • Avoiding sharing utensils, drinks and towel with others
  • Avoiding smoking and exposure to smoke.

And remember to chat to your community pharmacist about making changes to your lifestyle if you continually get sore throats.