Sore Throat Symptoms And Signs

Clinician and patient

Recognising a sore throat

A sore throat is a common symptom of the flu,1,2 so it helps to know how to recognise when a patient is suffering from this condition.

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Signs and symptoms

A sore throat is part of the body’s immune response to a viral infection such as the flu.3 Patients suffering from a sore throat may report:

  • Difficulty or pain on swallowing
  • The sensation of a swollen throat4
  • Pain, or a scratchy sensation, in the throat
  • Sore, swollen glands around the neck or jaw
  • Swollen, red tonsils
  • A hoarse or croaky voice5
  • Questions to ask your patient

    Female clinician

    Ask your patient:5

    • Are there symptoms present other than a sore throat?
    • Is there a fever present, and if so, what has your temperature been?
    • Has there been difficulty breathing?
    • What seems to exacerbate or relieve the sore throat?
    • Is the sore throat a recurring problem?
  • When to refer your patient for further care

    Woman in pharmacy covering mouth as she coughs

    The patient should be referred to a doctor for further assessment and management if any of the following is reported:5

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Significant difficulty swallowing
    • Difficulty opening the mouth
    • Joint pain
    • Earache
    • Rash
    • Fever higher than 38°C
    • Frequently recurring sore throats
    • Lump in the neck
    • Hoarseness lasting more than 2 weeks
    • Swelling in the neck or face
    • Unusual drooling in young children, which may indicate an inability to swallow

Understanding sore throat

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Find out about the causes of sore throats.


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Learn how sore throats should be managed.


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Sore throat

Learn more about sore throats by exploring an overview of this condition.


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The Otrivin range

Find out how the Otrivin range can help your patients.

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Patient care resources

Access a leaflet for your patients, which can help them understand the causes of a sore throat and how best to treat it.


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Learning Lab

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