Sore Throat

A sore throat (pharyngitis) is normally a symptom of a bacterial or viral infection, such as the common cold. In around a....

A sore throat (pharyngitis) is normally a symptom of a bacterial or viral infection, such as the common cold. In approximately a third of cases, no cause for the sore throat can be found.

If you have a sore throat, you may also have:

  • Swollen tonsils (tonsillitis)
  • Enlarged and tender glands in your neck
  • Discomfort when swallowing

If your sore throat is caused by bacteria or a virus, you may also experience symptoms associated with common infectious conditions, such as:

  • A high temperature (fever) of 38ºC (100.4ºF) or over
  • Aching muscles or tiredness
  • A headache
  • A cough
  • A runny nose

Treating a sore throat
Sore throats are common, especially in children and teenagers. This is because young people have not built up resistance (immunity) against many of the viruses and bacteria that can cause sore throats.

Most sore throats are not serious and usually pass without the need for medical treatment. Over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, and self-care tips can usually help to relieve the symptoms of a sore throat without the need to see a GP.

Antibiotics are not usually prescribed for a sore throat, unless it is particularly severe or you are considered at risk of a more serious infection.

How long will a sore throat last?

  • A recent study looked at people who book a GP appointment for a sore throat (probably those with worse symptoms). The results found:
  • In 50% of cases, moderately bad symptoms of a sore throat had settled seven days after the onset of the illness
  • In 80% of cases, moderately bad symptoms of a sore throat had gone after 10 days

When to seek medical help
Make an appointment to see your GP if:

  • You have a persistent high temperature above 38ºC (100.4ºF), which does not go down after taking medication
  • Your symptoms do not improve within a week

It is important to investigate the cause of your temperature because it may be the result of a more serious condition, such as:

  • Epiglottitis – swelling and redness (inflammation) of the epiglottis (the flap of tissue at the back of the throat, underneath the tongue) if left untreated, it can cause breathing difficulties
  • Quinsy – an abscess (a painful collection of pus) that develops between the back of the tonsil and the wall of the throat, usually caused by a bout of severe tonsillitis

Blood tests may be carried out if your GP suspects you have a type of viral infection called glandular fever (also known as infectious mononucleosis).

Contact your GP, as soon as possible if you have a sore throat and you:

  • Are in severe pain
  • Have difficulty breathing
  • Are making a high-pitched sound as you breathe (stridor)
  • Start drooling
  • Have a muffled voice
  • Have difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or are not able to swallow enough fluids

If your symptoms are very severe or getting worse quickly, visit your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department or call 999/112 for an ambulance.

At-risk groups
While most sore throats can be treated at home, some people are more at risk than others of developing complications from a sore throat, and may need additional treatment.

See your GP at the first sign of infection if you:

  • Have HIV and AIDS (a virus that attacks the body's immune system)
  • Have Leukaemia (cancer of the bone marrow)
  • Have asplenia (when your spleen, an organ behind your stomach, does not work properly or has been removed)
  • Have aplastic anaemia (when your bone marrow does not produce enough blood cells)
  • Are receiving chemotherapy
  • Are taking an immunosuppressant medicine (which stops your immune system working) – for example, because you have had an organ transplant
  • Are taking an antithyroid medication (to stop your thyroid gland producing too many hormones), such as carbimazole
  • Are taking a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) – for example, to treat arthritis (a common condition that causes inflammation in the joints and bones)

Visit your local CarePlus Pharmacy for more advice.



Special Offers

BEST BUYS
SAVE 33%
AVEENO BABY
AVEENO BABY
Across the range
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
FEEL GOOD
SAVE 33%
RUBEX
RUBEX
Vitamin C 20's
€4.15
WAS €6.25
SAVE €2.10
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
BEST BUYS
SAVE 25%
CALDESENE
CALDESENE
Powder 20G / 50G / 100G
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
FEEL GOOD
OUR PRICE
PHARMATON
PHARMATON
Capsules 30's / 100's
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
BEST BUYS
ONLY €2.50
WATER WIPES
WATER WIPES
60's
€2.50
WAS €3.45
SAVE €0.95
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
BEST BUYS
SAVE 33%
KIDSCLIN
KIDSCLIN
Cradle Cap Treatment Kit 15ML
€13.35
WAS €19.95
SAVE €6.60
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
TREAT YOURSELF
OUR PRICE
ULTRAPURE
ULTRAPURE
Sensitive Range
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
BEST BUYS
SAVE 33%
BEPANTHEN
BEPANTHEN
Ointment 30G / 100G
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
BEST BUYS
SAVE 33%
POXCLIN
POXCLIN
Sensitive Mousse 100ML
€13.35
WAS €19.92
SAVE €6.57
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
TREAT YOURSELF
ONLY €5
GARNIER
GARNIER
Miscellar Water Sensitive/ Normal 400ML
€5
WAS €7.60
SAVE €2.60
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
BEST BUYS
SAVE 33%
ELAVE
ELAVE
Baby Range
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
TREAT YOURSELF
ONLY €1
GARNIER
GARNIER
Skin Active Range
€1
WAS €2.30
SAVE €1.30
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
FEEL GOOD
SAVE 33%
PHARMATON
PHARMATON
Active Life 30's / 90's
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
TREAT YOURSELF
SAVE 25%
NIVEA
NIVEA
Urban Skin Range
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
BEST BUYS
HALF PRICE
SUDOCREM
SUDOCREM
Care & Protect
€4.45
WAS €8.95
SAVE €4.50
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
FEEL GOOD
SAVE 25%
LEMLIFT
LEMLIFT
Across the range
€5.20
WAS €6.95
SAVE €1.75
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
BETTER THAN HALF PRICE
HALF PRICE
JOHNSON'S
JOHNSON'S
Baby Range
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
FEEL GOOD
SAVE 33%
BIO-KULT
BIO-KULT
Across the range
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th
FEEL GOOD
SAVE 33%
MY PRO
MY PRO
Colicare 4.5ML
€12.70
WAS €18.95
SAVE €6.25
Valid Oct 3rd - Nov 6th