Soothe that sore throat for free

The Sore Throat Test and Treat scheme allows patients who have a sore throat to call into their local Health Plus Pharmacy in Cardiff & Pontypool and be tested by a trained pharmacist using a quick and pain free test. Following a consultation and assessment by the pharmacist, medication may be supplied for those patients where an antibiotic is required. In many cases, a sore throat is the result of a viral rather than bacterial infection which means antibiotics will not work, and self-care and rest are the best course of action.

The Sore throat test and treat service is part of the Common Ailments Scheme, which encourages patients to visit their community pharmacist instead of their GP if they feel they need NHS advice to manage common symptoms, such as sore throat, heartburn, conjunctivitis, thrush and threadworm.

Sore throats are, sadly, inevitable from time to time and are particularly common in winter, and usually nothing to worry about. They normally get better within a week.

Treatments Available

Testing and oral treatments

Common causes

A sore throat is often a symptom of:

  • colds or flu – you may also have a blocked or runny nose, a cough, a high temperature (fever), a headache and general aches
  • laryngitis (inflammation of the voice box) – you may also have a hoarse voice, a dry cough and a constant need to clear your throat
  • tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils) – you may also have red or spotty tonsils, discomfort when swallowing and a fever
  • strep throat (a bacterial throat infection) – you may also have swollen glands in your neck, discomfort when swallowing and tonsillitis
  • glandular fever – you may also feel very tired and have a fever and swollen glands in your neck
  • It may also be caused by something irritating your throat, such as smoke, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (where acid leaks up from  the stomach) and allergies.

Less common causes

Less often, a sore throat can be a sign of:

  • quinsy (a painful collection of pus at the back of the throat) – the pain may be severe and you may also have difficulty opening your mouth or difficulty swallowing
  • epiglottitis (inflammation of the flap of tissue at the back of the throat) – the pain may be severe and you may have difficulty breathing and difficulty swallowing

These conditions are more serious and should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible (see below).

When to get professional advice

If you have a sore throat you can get advice and treatment directly from your local Health Plus Pharmacy in Cardiff & Pontypool, via the free Sore Throat Test and Treat scheme

You don’t usually need to get medical advice if you have a sore throat however your pharmacist may advise you see your GP if:

  • your symptoms are severe
  • you have persistent symptoms that haven’t started to improve after a week
  • you experience severe sore throats frequently
  • you have a weak immune system – for example, you have HIV, are having chemotherapy, or are taking medication that suppresses your immune system

If you have a persistent sore throat (one that lasts three to four weeks), you should see your GP who may refer you for further tests. This is because your sore throat may be a symptom of a more serious condition.

When to get emergency help

Very rarely, a sore throat can be a sign of a serious problem.

Visit your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department or call 999 for an ambulance immediately if:

  • your symptoms are severe or getting worse quickly
  • you have difficulty breathing
  • you’re making a high-pitched sound as you breathe (called stridor)
  • you have difficulty swallowing
  • you start drooling

How do u get rid of a sore throat quickly?

Lifestyle and home remedies

Regardless of the cause of your sore throat, these at-home care strategies can help you ease your or your child’s symptoms:

  • Rest. Get plenty of sleep. Rest your voice, too.
  • Drink fluids. Fluids keep the throat moist and prevent dehydration. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
  • Try comforting foods and beverage. Warm liquids — broth, caffeine-free tea or warm water with honey — and cold treats such as ice pops can soothe a sore throat. Don’t give honey to children younger than age 1.
  • Gargle with saltwater. A saltwater gargle of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (1250 to 2500 milligrams) of table salt to 4 to 8 ounces (120 to 240 milliliters) of warm water can help soothe a sore throat. Children older than 6 and adults can gargle the solution and then spit it out.
  • Humidify the air. Use a cool-air humidifier to eliminate dry air that may further irritate a sore throat, being sure to clean the humidifier regularly so it doesn’t grow mold or bacteria. Or sit for several minutes in a steamy bathroom.
  • Consider lozenges or hard candy. Either can soothe a sore throat, but don’t give them to children age 4 and younger because of choking risk.
  • Avoid irritants. Keep your home free from cigarette smoke and cleaning products that can irritate the throat.
  • Stay at home until you’re no longer sick. This can help protect others from catching a cold or other virus.

What should I eat with a sore throat?

Sore throats cause discomfort for people of all ages. Often the first sign of a cold or upper respiratory infection, they can leave you feeling miserable and not wanting to eat—but it’s important to fuel your body when you’re sick in order to speed up the healing process.

Though your appetite probably won’t be great when you’re sick, try to eat as many nutrients as you can. We’ve all heard the phrase “feed a cold, starve a fever;” while no food will cure a sore throat, there are certain choices you can make that will help soothe irritation and swelling while promoting healing.

Your Health Plus Pharmacists recommends the following foods when you have a sore throat:

  • Chicken soup. Your grandma was right—chicken soup really does help fight colds and infection. Scientists have discovered that chicken soup helps inhibit movement of neutrophils, white blood cells that defend against infection, and the hot fluids increase the movement of nasal mucus. Plus, the broth keeps you hydrated and the salt enables your tissues to retain fluid. Bonus: it’s delicious!
  • Honey. Honey is another ingredient that gets a lot of buzz (pun intended) for its medicinal benefits. Studies have shown it to be effective in warding off bacterial and viral infections. But limit your intake; the high sugar content can prevent the immune system from doing an effective job. Children under the age of one shouldn’t be given honey due to the possibility of botulism.
  • Yogurt. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. It’s chock full of probiotic bacteria that help protect the immune system. Plus, its cool, soft texture makes it an ideal source of nourishment when you’re sick.
  • Mashed potatoes. Soft foods are always a good idea when you’re sick, and mashed potatoes fit the bill perfectly. The skin contains beneficial magnesium, vitamin C and antioxidants, ingredients that promote a strong immune system, so leave that on when mashing. Just be sure to let them cool off before eating in order to avoid further throat irritation.
  • Eggs. Eggs have healthy doses of vitamins D and B12, as well as minerals such as zinc, iron and selenium, all of which help fight infection. Serving them scrambled when you’re sick makes them easier to eat.
  • Oatmeal. High in fiber and ingredients like magnesium, zinc and antioxidants, oatmeal is an excellent food to help rid your body of toxins. Its soft texture makes it easy to swallow when you’ve got a sore throat.
  • Ginger. This root that originated in China is great at reducing pain and inflammation and works as an antioxidant, helping to prevent bacterial growth. Its anti-nausea properties have been well-documented. Studies show that combining ginger with honey boosts the effectiveness of either ingredient alone.
  • Jell-O. Watch it wiggle and see it jiggle when you’re sick and you could be feeling better in no time. Jell-O doesn’t contain any unique medicinal properties and the sugar content could suppress the immune system, but its smooth texture makes it an easy-to-swallow food when your throat is irritated.
  • Ice cream. Cold foods such as ice cream help soothe sore throats and reduce inflammation. Again, stick to a single scoop, as too much sugar may inhibit the immune system’s effectiveness.
  • Smoothies. Smoothies made with low-sugar and high-antioxidant ingredients such as berries, kale or celery help soothe the throat and boost the immune system. Add fruits such as orange or tangerine to amp up the Vitamin C and speed up your recovery.

How long does a sore throat last usually?

In most cases, a sore throat should improve within 7 days. If it doesn’t improve or if you experience any other severe symptoms, you should consult a doctor to determine whether treatment is necessary.

Can a sore throat be prevented or avoided?

While a sore throat cannot always be avoided, the best way to prevent a sore throat is to avoid getting sick.

Some ways you may be able to prevent a sore throat include:

  •    wash your hands regularly
  •    avoid touching your eyes or mouth
  •    cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
  •    limit close contact with others who have respiratory infections, sore throats, and colds
  •    if you smoke, consider quitting
  •     avoid exposure to secondhand smoke as much as possible

Are there different types of sore throat?

Sore throats are divided into types — pharyngitis, tonsillitis, and laryngitis — based on the part of the throat they affect.

  • Pharyngitis causes swelling and soreness in the throat.
  • Tonsillitis is swelling and redness of the tonsils, the soft tissue in the back of the mouth.
  • Laryngitis is swelling and redness of the voice box, or larynx.

Can I get the sore throat test and treatments free via the Common Ailment NHS Scheme?

Yes the sore throat test and treat service is part of the Common ailment NHS scheme which encourages patients to visit their community pharmacist instead of their GP. Get tested by a trained pharmacist using a quick and pain free test. .

Book and appointment with you local Health Plus Pharmacist in Cardiff or Pontypool to take advantage of the Common Ailment NHS Scheme