Most sore throats are caused by viral infections. Other symptoms of a cold are often present or on the way and so should be treated. A “strep throat” is an infection caused by a bacterium. This is most common in children of school-going age and usually requires antibiotics. Smoking makes sore throats worse.


White spots on the throat are just as likely to occur with viral or bacterial infection, but do not confuse this with oral thrush in the young and elderly, which produces white spots around the mouth. A severe sore throat after a week of feeling bad can be due to glandular fever (also known as mononucleosis or just ‘mono’), which will leave the unfortunate patient feeling bad for weeks. Swollen glands in the neck and armpits will accompany this severe sore throat.


Call into your local pharmacist or GP if glands are swollen or the sore throat is very severe.
A sore throat will go away of its own accord within 7-10 days.


Any painkiller or lozenge used already should have worked if appropriate. If they have not call into your local pharmacy and speak with a healthcare advisor or with the pharmacist. Many prescription medicines can cause sore throats and throat problems, e.g. steroid inhalers used by asthmatics. Mention any medication being taken when you seek advice at the pharmacy.




DIFFLAM ORAL RINSE or DIFFLAM SPRAY not only kills pain, but also reduces inflammation – this is extremely effective in situations where the throat and mouth are both affected. If you do not want to use the spray or wash and would prefer a lozenge, then lozenges containing a local anaesthetic should be taken for a severe sore throat. Most of the stronger lozenges contain a combination of a local anaesthetic to kill the pain and a good antiseptic to aid hygiene. STREPSILS PLUS lozenges are a good example of such a product.


For both the pain of the sore throat and because it may be the first sign of a cold you should take some paracetamol. If you are treating a cold or flu, then the paracetamol may be contained in the chosen preparation already. Look carefully at the list of ingredients to ensure that you do not take a harmful quantity of paracetamol.


Good oral hygiene is essential with a sore throat and will help to quickly clear it up. We recommend ORALDENE MOUTHWASH as part of your dental care routine while you have a sore throat. As a sore throat is often the first sign of a cold VITAMIN C is strongly advised at this point to help avert the cold.


Practical Point:


  • Take an early night in a warm bed after some Vitamin C as a sore throat often heralds the arrival of cold or flu!
  • Due to regulatory guidelines, not all painkillers will be on display in the pharmacy. Your pharmacist will be available to advise you on the appropriate medication for the relief of your symptoms.