Sore throats are very common and usually nothing to worry about. They normally get better within a week. Most are caused by minor illnesses such as colds or flu and can be treated at home.
The following can often help soothe a sore throat:
- taking ibuprofen or paracetamol – paracetamol is better for children and for people who can’t take ibuprofen (note that children under 16 should never take aspirin)
- drinking plenty of cool or warm fluids, and avoid very hot drinks
- eating cool, soft foods
- avoiding smoking and smoky places
- adults can try gargling with a homemade mouthwash of warm, salty water (not recommended for children)
- sucking lozenges, hard sweets, ice cubes or ice lollies – but don’t give young children anything small and hard to suck because of the risk of choking
Antibiotics aren’t usually prescribed for a sore throat, even if it’s caused by a bacterial infection, as they’re unlikely to make you feel better any quicker and they can have unpleasant side effects.
You can visit your local pharmacy who may be able to offer advice and over-the-counter medicines to help combat a sore throat.
You can find your nearest pharmacy and check their opening hours at www.nhs.uk