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The best over the counter medicines for a sore throat

Struck down by a scratchy throat? Our resident pharmacist recommends the best over-the-counter medicines to get you well again.

over the counter sore throat remedies
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If you still have a sore throat after seven days, make an appointment with your doctor.Cold and flu season is here, and with it comes a host of uncomfortable symptoms including the dreaded sore throat.

Sore throats tend to be caused by a virus and often occur just before the start of a cold or flu, but can also be due to irritation from coughing or mucus running down the back of the throat. Sore throats can also be caused by bacteria called Streptococcus.

While a scratchy throat can be uncomfortable and at times debilitating, the good news is you can take fast-acting over-the-counter remedies without having to visit your GP.

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How do I cure my sore throat?

Sore throats are self-limiting and tend to get better on their own in about three to seven days. Antibiotics are not usually required.

🤒 If you still have a sore throat after 7 days, make an appointment with your GP.

Medicines available from the pharmacy can help to relief the symptoms of a sore throat, including lozenges, syrups, throat sprays and painkillers.

Our resident pharmacist Rita Ghelani recommends the following over-the-counter medicines:

➡️ Throat lozenges: if you have a mild sore throat, sucking on a lozenge can help to lubricate the throat, as the sucking action helps to produce saliva. Also, ingredients such as lemon and honey in these products can help to relieve irritation and stop the throat feeling dry.

➡️ Syrups: if your throat is dry and scratchy, using a syrup of linctus containing glycerine, honey and lemon can help soothe a sore throat by providing lubrication.

➡️ Throat spray: if you have a sore throat that is very painful and making it difficult for you to swallow, using a throat spray containing a local anaesthetic could be a good option. These work quickly and as the spray is directed to the exact point of pain at the back of the throat and it works by numbing the pain.

➡️ Pain killers: for extremely inflamed sore throats, ibuprofen tablets will help. Gargling with soluble aspirin (300mg strength) is also an option, as this targets the inflamed areas at the back of the throat.

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