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Do you need Antibiotics for Sore Throat?

Image of antibiotic tablets used to cure sore throat

BY DR. VARUN GUPTA

It has almost become a habit for most of us to start taking antibiotics as soon as we suspect a sore throat. But are antibiotics really required to cure sore throat? No, antibiotics are not required to cure a sore throat in most cases. Read on to find when you need them.

Common Symptoms of a Sore Throat?

A sore throat is a condition marked by pain, itchiness or irritation of the throat. Sore throat is mostly caused by a virus and goes away on its own.

Recommended ways to cure a Sore Throat without Antibiotics?

Here are some simple ways to help relieve a sore throat :

1 . Take plenty of rest

2 . Gargle often with warm salt water. This helps to reduce throat swelling and pain. Mix 1 tsp (5 g) of salt 240 mL of warm water

3 . Drink extra fluids to soothe your throat. Honey or lemon in tea may help

4 . You could try steam inhalation to help relieve congestion

5 . To relieve the pain from a sore throat, you could take over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol or you can try throat lozenges

6 . If you get a persistent cough you can try a cough syrup based on the type of your cough.

So, when are Antibiotics Needed?

Most of the times, a sore throat goes away on its own in a week’s time without the need of an antibiotic. But if your sore throat lasts longer than 1-2 weeks or you have a temperature higher than 100.4 °F or any other unusual symptom, then you need an antibiotic as advised by your doctor.

Antibiotics are meant for treating bacterial infections. Since most sore throats are viral, using an antibiotic will not cure the condition. Taking antibiotics for viral infections will not only be costly but will also cause unwanted side effects like diarrhea, vomiting. Misuse and overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance, a phenomenon that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of antibiotics.

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Finally, ways to prevent a Sore Throat?

A sore throat can be prevented by following these simple and effective steps :

1 . Practice good hand hygiene

2 . Avoid close contact with people who have sore throats, colds or other upper respiratory infections

3 . Avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke

So next time you have an itchy or irritant throat, refrain from taking an antibiotic and give your body some time to heal itself!

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