Sore throats are very common and usually nothing to worry about. They normally get better within a week. Most are caused by minor illnesses such as colds or flu and can be treated at home.
The following can often help soothe a sore throat:
- taking ibuprofen or paracetamol – paracetamol is better for children and for people who can’t take ibuprofen (note that children under 16 should never take aspirin)
- drinking plenty of cool or warm fluids, and avoid very hot drinks
- eating cool, soft foods
- avoiding smoking and smoky places
- adults can try gargling with a homemade mouthwash of warm, salty water (not recommended for children)
- sucking lozenges, hard sweets, ice cubes or ice lollies – but don’t give young children anything small and hard to suck because of the risk of choking
Antibiotics aren’t usually prescribed for a sore throat, even if it’s caused by a bacterial infection, as they’re unlikely to make you feel better any quicker and they can have unpleasant side effects.