Picture the scene, you’ve just woken up with a sore throat. Do you think to yourself I need to pop to the pharmacy or supermarket to pick up some lozenges or do you ring your GP practice for an appointment? I’d like to think that most of us would opt for the first opinion, however, recent research from Jakemans, the leading menthol confectionery brand has uncovered that we are turning to our doctors for harder solutions to treat a sore throat when over-the-counter remedies provide the answer.
The research highlights that almost one in three (31%) of us would visit our GP when suffering with a sore throat. With over a third (35%) expecting to leave the surgery with a prescription for antibiotics – at a time when resistance to antibiotics has been highlighted by England’s Chief Medical Officer and within the media.
Jakemans Brand Manager, Elizabeth Hughes-Gapper said:
“It is revealing to learn that people are turning more to their GP than Pharmacist when they are suffering with a sore throat. Over-the-counter remedies are a long-standing favourite for a soothing sore throat and have been for many years. Jakemans have been creating marvellous menthol confectionery since 1907. This is testament to the use of menthol confectionery as a tasty way to soothe sore throats. Each Jakemans sweet is made with only the finest ingredients, no artificial colours or flavours and is bursting with menthol – an ingredient that releases natural vapours to help keep airways clear and soothe the symptoms of a sore throat.”
Sore throat myth busters
With many people heading to see their GP for a sore throat when over the counter remedies could ease their suffering. Marvin Munzu, a leading pharmacist and Jakemans expert shares some sore throat myth busters…
- Antibiotics relieve most sore throats (MYTH) – Majority of sore throats are caused by viruses and antibiotics are ineffective.
- Most sore throats are self-limiting and can be treated at home (FACT) – Most sore throats are viral and will normal heal themselves within 5 – 7 days without any prescribed medication.
- Dusting and cleaning your house can help relieve sore throats (FACT) – Certain sore throats are caused by allergies, for example, dust, pollens or pets. Avoiding these triggers can improve a sore throat.
- Smoking irritates sore throats (FACT) – Most chemicals in cigarettes can cause or irritate sore throats by thickening mucus and irritating the airways.
- Ice creams are good for sore throats (MYTH) – Ice creams can soothe a sore throat by reducing inflammation, however, viruses and bacteria grow in a sugar environment and dairy products thicken mucous, hence ice creams can lead to more irritation and worsen a sore throat.
- Cold weather causes sore throats (MYTH) – Sore throats are caused by a virus, although viruses thrive in cold weather, you have a higher chance of getting a sore throat inside a house with someone sneezing than outside in the cold.
- Alcohol eases sore throats (MYTH) – Although studies show that a moderate intake of alcohol particularly wine may boost the immune system, too much alcohol could lead to dehydration, which has the potential to worsen a sore throat. According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), immunity is reduced as a result of long-term frequent alcohol consumption as well as short-term, excessive drinking.
- Lozenges are the only medicine to treat sore throats (MYTH) – There are various forms of medications to treat sore throats including sprays and antiseptic solutions which can be bought at your local pharmacy. Sucking on menthol sweets and lozenges help to soothe a sore throat, easing discomfort and pain symptoms
- Gargling salt water eases a sore throat (FACT) – Salts absorb water and help reduce inflammation, therefore reducing pain and discomfort. It also washes away excess mucus.
- Sore throats and tonsillitis are the same things (MYTH) – The terms a sore throat and tonsillitis are usually used interchangeably but they don’t mean the same thing. A sore throat, alongside other symptoms, such as a high temperature, difficulty swallowing, hoarse or no voice and coughing, are symptomatic of tonsillitis.
- Exercising worsens sore throats (FACT & MYTH) – Studies by the American College of sports medicine show that low to moderate exercises such as walking swimming, stretching, cycling, yoga may be beneficial for sore throats by boosting the immune system. However, high-intensity exercise may suppress the immune system and therefore should be avoided during sore throats.
- Marshmallow improves sore throats (FACT) – Studies show that marshmallow root contains a substance called mucilage which forms a gel with water which coats the throat and reduces irritation. Marshmallows help soothe irritated mucous membranes.
- Kissing can spread a sore throat (FACT) – Viruses and bacteria are usually contained in saliva and can spread from one person to another through the exchange of bodily fluids like kissing.
- School children are more likely to suffer sore throats than university students (FACT) – Children and teenagers are more likely to develop sore throats than university students because their immune systems against many viruses and bacteria are less developed compared to adults.
- You don’t need to see a doctor with a sore throat (FACT & MYTH) – Most sore throats are self-limiting and do not require a doctor. However, if your symptoms are more severe, do not heal within two to three weeks then consult your doctor.