A sore throat is rarely serious and is often a symptom of an infection, such as the common cold. Sometimes we simply don’t know what has caused a sore throat, but it isn’t something to worry about unless you suffer from more serious symptoms.
Sore throats are particularly common in children and teenagers, because young people have not yet built up resistance to many of the bacteria that can cause them.
In most cases, a sore throat will last between 7-10 days and antibiotics do not reduce the recovery time.
There are two types of sore throat. Pharyngitis is when the area at the back of your throat becomes inflamed whilst tonsillitis is when your tonsils (the two lumps of tissue either side of your throat) become inflamed.
Most of the time, sore throats aren’t serious and won’t need medical treatment.
Antibiotics are not usually prescribed for a sore throat, including tonsillitis, because a sore throat is not caused by bacteria. Overusing antibiotics to treat minor ailments can make them less effective when needed.
A pharmacist can advise you on the best over the counter remedies to help treat the symptoms you are experiencing.
Call NHS 111 or see your GP if you have any of the following:
If you're concerned about yourself, a relative or friend, call NHS 111 for medical advice, this free service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The advisors taking 111 calls are in the same room as those answering 999 calls, so if urgent attention is needed, they can arrange it immediately for you.
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This website was created in 2015 by West Hampshire CCG in order to support local people to manage minor illness and injury.