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WINTER HEALTH: DR MARK PORTER'S GUIDE TO EVERYTHING YOU EVER NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT...SORE THROATS.

Byline: DR MARK PORTER

One in 10 people suffer from recurrent sore throats during the winter months and most are due to infection of the lining of the back of the throat (pharyngitis) or of the tonsils (tonsillitis).

The vast majority of sore throats are caused by viral infection and will get better on their own.

Don't push your GP for antibiotics. They can be of benefit in a few cases but have little or no effect in most. A review of 10,000 people with sore throat found that antibiotics only shortened the duration of symptoms by an average of eight hours.

Suspicious cases of sore throat that need checking by a doctor, and which may require antibiotics, include those accompanied by tummy pains, a rash, enlarged tender glands in the neck and/or difficulty swallowing fluids.

Ease the discomfort in young children using paracetamol or ibuprofen liquid. Teenagers and adults may get more relief by gargling and swallowing two soluble aspirin 6-8 hourly. Your pharmacist can suggest numbing throat sprays and lozenges (go for ones with a local anaesthetic).

Recurrent sore throats are more common in smokers and in children and adults with enlarged tonsils. More than five attacks of tonsillitis a year may warrant referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist to decide whether the tonsils should be removed.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 11, 2001
Words:223
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