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Sorting Out Sore Throats


A sore throat is a common symptom of a number of illnesses ranging from the common cold to glandular fever.

When bacteria or viruses infect the tissues at the back and sides of the throat, the body then tries to fight the infection, which can cause the glands (lymph nodes) in the neck to swell and become tender.

While sore throats can be painful and cause discomfort when swallowing, most are caused by a virus and will go away within a few days without needing medication. However, sometimes a sore throat can be a sign of something more serious and may require treatment with an antibiotic.

Maori and Pacific Island children are at high risk of developing rheumatic fever and should see a doctor if they show any signs of sore throat.

For everyone else, you should see your GP or nurse if symptoms are not improving after 48 hours.


  • Drink plenty of clear liquids.
  • Avoid smoking and smoky environments.
  • Rest as much as you can.
  • Gargle and rinse your mouth out with salt water.
  • Suck throat lozenges to help keep your throat lubricated.
  • Take pain relief medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.


Your local Life Pharmacy stocks a range of lozenges and pain medication – talk to the Pharmacist about the products that are right for you and your family.

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