Sore throats are very common and usually nothing to worry about. They normally get better within a week and most are caused by minor illnesses such as colds and flu.
You don't usually need to get medical advice if you have a sore throat.
There are things you can do at home to help relieve the symptoms. Paracetamol and ibuprofen (if it is safe for you to take it) can help relieve the pain of a sore throat and can reduce your fever if you have one. Drinking plenty of cool or warm fluids can help releive symptoms as can eating soft foods. Gargling with a homemade mouthwash of warm, salty water can also be helpful.
It is advisable to contact your GP if:
- Your symptoms are severe
- You have persistent symptoms that haven't started to improve after a week
- You experience severe sore throats frequently
- You have a weakened immune system, for example if you have HIV, are having chemotherapy or are taking medication to supress your immune system.
Seek emergency help by visiting A&E or calling 999 if:
- You have difficulty breathing
- You are making a high-pitched sound as you breathe (called stridor)
- You start drooling
- Your symptoms are severe or getting worse quickly
For more information on sore throats, visit the NHS choices page by clicking the link below:
Content adapted from NHS Choices