How to Treat a Sore Throat and When to See Someone

19 December 2022
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog


Sore throats are common, and many people can treat them at home without medical help. However, there's no denying they're uncomfortable, and sometimes seeing a medic is necessary. Knowing how to treat yourself and when to visit a medical centre is useful.

Managing Pain

In many cases, your sore throat is caused by a virus rather than bacteria. As your body works to fight the virus, you'll experience swelling that's painful. You may also have muscle aches as your body fights the virus. Fortunately, you can treat pain at home. Gargling with salt water reduces swelling and therefore limits pain. You can also use over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. If your pain becomes so bad that you can't swallow, visit a medical centre. 

Tackling Swelling

Some swelling is normal with sore throats. It may arise as your lymph nodes form a localised response to the causative pathogen. Such lymph nodes can include your tonsils, which you may notice are bigger when you look at your throat in the mirror. The same techniques you use to manage pain are also useful for handling swelling. However, it's important to note that paracetamol is not an anti-inflammatory. If your swelling is rapid, you're struggling to breathe, or it lasts for a few days, see a medical professional.

Soothing Fevers

Low to moderate fevers are normal when it comes to sore throats. However, if your fever is high or you feel hot and shivery, you may need medical advice. Very high fevers can indicate that your sore throat is bacterial rather than viral. Depending on the causative bacteria, you might need antibiotics. If your child has a sore throat and a fever, it's always a good idea to seek medical advice as a precautionary measure. Your doctor may be able to give advice on the phone, including when to call them for a repeat assessment.

Seeing Someone

If you're regularly getting sore throats, particularly tonsillitis, speak to someone at your medical centre. While sore throats may not be dangerous, you may need a referral if they impact your quality of life. Repeated sore throats may also indicate that you're suffering from an underlying condition that weakens your immune system. They can also act as an early sign of some conditions. Your doctor may want to perform blood tests to see if you're showing signs of a persistent infection. They can also refer you to a specialist, such as someone who works in ENT.

For more info, visit a local medical centre.