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Sore Throat

Who do I see?

Self-care / Community Pharmacy / Forres Treatment and Care Hub / GP


Sore throats are very common, particularly in the autumn and winter months. They are usually nothing to worry about and normally start to get better within a week.

Please follow the self-care advice at NHS Inform to treat this yourself at home. You can also follow the Sore Throat guide to check your symptoms to know when to seek further help. Your local community pharmacy can help you with symptom relief should you need it.

Tonsilitis is a sore throat where the tonsils get inflamed. This means that as well as being sore, the tonsils look swollen and red. Sometimes some white spots also appear on the tonsils. This is actually your own body’s white blood cells that have arrived to help fight off the infection.

Antibiotics aren’t usually recommended for a sore throat these days, even if it’s caused by a bacterial infection. Research and evidence have shown that they’re unlikely to make you feel better any quicker and they can have unpleasant side effects.

You don’t usually need to get medical advice if you have a sore throat or tonsilitis but you may need to contact us if:

  • your symptoms are severe – for example, with a high temperature or you feel shivery, particularly if this is after the first couple of days of having a sore throat.
  • 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
  • you develop a rash or red-looking tongue – this can be a sign of Scarlet Fever.

If this is the case, please submit an online medical consultation request for the Urgent Medical Problem Team giving us as much information about your problem as you can. You will get a same-day response usually by telephone or a time to attend the surgery for further assessment and examination.

To discuss cases of recurrent sore throats or a sore throat that doesn’t seem to be getting better after several weeks or comes and goes, please submit an online medical consultation request for the GP Clinical Team giving us as much information about your problem as you can. We will respond usually with an offer of an appointment with a GP or other suitable clinician to assess your problem further.

Further help and advice about sore throats is available from NHS Inform

If you cannot use the online service please call us on 0345 337 1120 and a member of the care navigation team will help you.