Sore throat infections are very common, with 69% of people reporting that they suffer from one at least once or twice a year. Additionally, 64% of people said that having a sore throat prevents them from either sleeping, eating, socialising, exercising or going to work. However, research shows that up to 9 out of 10 sore throats cannot be treated by antibiotics from your doctor as they do not work for viral infections. New research released from RB (the makers of Strepsils and Strefen), a medicated sore-throat lozenge, has found that only 22% say they would choose to visit their pharmacist for a sore throat. If you find yourself needing expert advice on your sore throat, pharmacists can be your first port of call.
Pharmacists have the right clinical training to help ensure that people get the help that they need. They are also able to provide the most appropriate and the most effective symptomatic relief for most sore throats. The reluctance to visit the pharmacy with a sore throat could stem from a lack of awareness about the ineffectiveness of antibiotics as a treatment for viral sore throats. 80% of UK adults do not realise that sore throats can be bacterial or viral and 39% are not aware that antibiotics can only be used to treat bacterial infections.
To help this problem, the makers of Strepsils and Strefen are partnering with Superdrug pharmacies to provide a quick, free consultation service for people with sore throats. The free 10-minute walk-in consultation service consists of a full examination which may include a swab test that can identify if your sore throat is bacterial or viral and therefore whether antibiotics are needed.
Sore throats are the largest contributor to inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions. Overuse of antibiotics is contributing to a rapid rise in antibiotic resistance, a global threat that means antibiotics can become ineffective against serious bacterial infections. By 2050, it is estimated that 10 million deaths may be attributed to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics are important medicines that are used to treat serious bacterial infections, but they are frequently being overused to treat simple illnesses including sore throats. Taking antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance and may make them less effective in the future. Therefore, it is important that people are aware of effective treatments, such as medicated lozenges, for their sore throat.
As we enter December, the colder and damper weather is drawing in and we can all expect to start getting more sore throats. Many people who get sore throats each year may visit their GP in the hope of getting some antibiotics to treat their infection. However, up to 9 in 10 sore throats may be caused by a virus, meaning they cannot be treated by antibiotics as they do not work for viral infections.
To coincide with the launch of the sore throat consultation service, here are some top tips on how to treat your sore throat this winter:
1 Rest as much as you can and make sure you get good sleep. It can be difficult to rest at this time of year but allowing your body time to rest and recharge will help it fight off your infection. You should also rest your throat as much as possible, so avoid shouting or singing.
2 Sore throats can be very uncomfortable, so consider taking painkillers or lozenges to ease the discomfort. There are medicated sore throat lozenges available to buy at pharmacies which contain an anti-inflammatory ingredient that can specifically target the pain in your throat.
3 Gargle with salt water. Salt acts as a mild antiseptic and draws water out of mucus membranes in the throat, which will help to clear any phlegm. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in one cup of water and swill it around in your mouth so it reaches the back of your throat. Be careful not to swallow the salt water, though, as it can cause dehydration.
4 Don’t assume you need antibiotics! Up to nine in 10 throats may be caused by a virus, meaning they cannot be treated by antibiotics as they do not work for viral infections. The makers of Strepsils and Strefen are partnering with select Superdrug pharmacies across the country to provide a quick, free sore throat consultation service. The examination may include a swab test that identifies if your sore throat is bacterial and therefore whether antibiotics are needed
5 For professional advice, visit your pharmacist. Pharmacists have the right clinical training to help and provide the most appropriate and effective symptomatic relief for the majority of sore throats.
The makers of Strepsils and Strefen are encouraging the public to visit their pharmacist for expert advice on sore throats. Over 200 Superdrug Pharmacies nationwide will be able to offer customers a swab test as part of a free 10-minute sore throat consultation, which can quickly determine in-store whether your sore throat requires antibiotics. To find your closest Superdrug pharmacist . . .
With the cold weather nearing closer, it’s never been more important to manage your health and understand the best NHS service to use for your health need. This Winter, NHS England have launched a new campaign called Help Us Help You to help the public better understand the best course of action when winter illness sets in and how get the best out of their NHS. Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell for more information.