Sore Throat

A sore throat is a very common ailment that affects all ages but is more common in children and young adults.

Symptoms of a viral sore throat can include:

• A worsening soreness in the throat - often at its worst after 2 to 3 days.
• Swallowing is unpleasant and as the soreness in the throat worsens, cold symptoms, hoarse voice, or mild cough may develop.
• The glands in the neck may swell (fighting off the virus).
• Symptoms get worse for 2 to 3 days then get better usually within a week.

Symptoms of tonsillitis are similar, but often worse:

• The raised temperature and general feeling of being unwell tends to be worse.
• The neck glands tend to be bigger and more painful.
• Pus can often be seen on the swollen, red tonsils.

What can I do?

If your doctor has decided not to prescribe antibiotics it is because you have a viral sore throat and, taking antibiotics will not help, however, you should:

• Drink plenty of fluid, even if it is a little painful, it is a good idea. Not drinking, together with a fever can cause dehydration which can make tiredness and headaches worse.
• Take regular Paracetamol to ease pain, headache and bring the temperature down. You can obtain soluble Paracetamol tablets of, for children use Paracetamol liquid.
• In addition to Paracetamol, adults may find that gargling with soluble Aspirin (dissolved in water) for 3 or 4 minutes often eases soreness and pain. This is often of mostly benefit before meals and at bedtime.

Aspirin however, should not be given to children under 12 and also not to people taking other painkillers and medicines for stomach and joint problems.

Your local pharmacist can advise you on which product to use to give relief of your symptoms. Always be sure to tell the pharmacist if you are taking other medication.

If, following the advice above, your symptoms are eased then you should begin to feel better within 3 to 4 days.

However, if you do not start to feel better after a few days or you feel worse or have any unusual symptoms, please do go back to see your doctor for more advice.

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