Sore throat

What doctors say*

* Official guidelines from NICE.

Should antibiotics be used? >

Only if more than two of the following

  • Fever during previous 24 hours
  • Pus on tonsils
  • Tender and swollen glands on neck
  • Absence of cough
  • Symptoms severe enough to call out doctor.

Likely duration if untreated >

2-8 days

Conventional self-care advice >

  • Consider paracetamol for pain or fever, or if preferred and suitable, ibuprofen
  • Drink adequate fluids
  • Some evidence that medicated lozenges can help reduce pain in adults

Opportunities for antibiotic alternatives >

If less than two of the NICE criteria above

Note: to help ease sore throat it is worth also considering remedies on the Common cold page.

Traditional home remedies worth trying