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Symptoms, Timeline & Treatment

Sore throats (or ‘pharyngitis’, to use the fancy medical term) are a fairly common issue that is usually caused by a viral infection. They can often accompany colds, coughs and the flu - but may sometimes occur on their own.

Thankfully, sore throats don’t tend to last very long and most people will recover fully within a week.

Since they’re usually caused by viruses, they can’t be treated with antibiotics. However, in some cases, sore throats can be caused by bacteria called streptococcus. This ‘strep throat’ tends to be much more painful and last much longer than sore throats caused by viral infections.

Our doctors can discover what type of sore throat you’re experiencing, diagnose whether it’s tied to another condition and if necessary, prescribe the necessary medication you need to start feeling better.

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Suffering from a sore throat
Treatment of sore throat with hydration

Sore throats: Symptoms

Since sore throats can be caused by either viruses or bacteria, symptoms can differ and may occur alongside other issues, or on their own. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the throat
  • Pain and/or discomfort when swallowing
  • Swollen or tender glands in the neck

You may also experience:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Muscle pains
  • Tiredness


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Sore throats: Timeline and treatment

Onset: 1-3 days

During this period you’ll have noticed a growing pain in your throat, although you may be able to relieve this with lozenges, ice cream, cool liquids or over-the-counter painkillers. Some of these steps may not be suitable for children, so be sure to check beforehand.

Recovery: 3-7 days

Most sore throats will clear up within a week, however, if things continue to get worse, your sore throat lasts more than two weeks, or you start experiencing new symptoms - it’s best to see a doctor.

Treating sore throats

In most cases sore throats will go away on their own. Antibiotics for a sore throat are only needed when it is caused by bacteria, like a strep throat (Streptococcus).

If you are not sure whether it’s a viral or bacterial throat infection, get in touch with one of our GP’s and we will diagnose you online.

Talk to a Doctor About Your Sore Throat
Sore throats can last for days

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