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How to soothe a sore throat 

Sore throats are very common and usually nothing to worry about. They normally get better by themselves within a week.

To help soothe a sore throat and shorten how long it lasts you can gargle with warm salty water (children shouldn’t try this), drink plenty of water (but avoid hot drinks), eat cool or soft foods, avoid smoking or smoky places and suck ice cubes, ice lollies or hard sweets (but don’t give young children anything small and hard to suck because of the risk of choking).

To help relieve the pain and discomfort of a sore throat you can use paracetamol or ibuprofen or use medicated lozenges or anaesthetic sprays (although there’s little proof they help).

You can buy them from a supermarket or from a pharmacist without a prescription.

See a GP if your sore throat doesn’t improve after a week, you often get sore throats, you’re worried about your sore throat, you have a sore throat and a very high temperature, or you feel hot and shivery and/or you have a weakened immune system – for example, because of diabetes or chemotherapy.

GPs don’t usually prescribe antibiotics for sore throats because they won’t relieve your symptoms or speed up your recovery.