Sore throat? Superdrug can now test to see if you need antibiotics

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
Photo credit: webphotographeer - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

For those who are prone to tonsillitis (me. Woe is me), every winter comes hand-in-hand with a big dose of a sore throat, swollen glands and - usually - a course of antibiotics. But not every sore throat requires prescribed medication, as it depends on whether the cause is a viral or a bacterial infection.

Typically, the only way to find this out is to go to your GP. But (god bless the NHS), with waiting times in the state they are, you can usually expect your torturous week of tonsillitis hell to be more-or-less over by the time you land an appointment. Which is why it's big news in my life (and hopefully yours, too) that Superdrug is now offering a 'test and treat' service to customers with sore throats.

This winter, all you have to do is turn up to a Superdrug Pharmacy and request a free 10-minute consultation service. First, a pharmacist will ask you a series of questions to determine your symptoms. If the medical expert deems it appropriate, patients will then be offered a full throat examination which may include a swab test to accurately identify whether the cause of your sore throat is viral or bacterial.

Photo credit: Rubberball/Nicole Hill - Getty Images

If it's viral, unfortunately nothing can be given aside from the usual pain-easing medication (throat spray, paracetamol, hot cup of honey and lemon, repeat). If the cause is bacterial, you will either be prescribed an antibiotic treatment (costing the same price as a normal prescription), or you can be referred to your GP.

How much simpler will this make your life? A lot, is the answer.

And there's another benefit to Superdrug's new service too: it should hopefully take some strain off the NHS. GPs currently spend around 200,000 hours each year dealing with patients who have sore throats, but only around 10% of these cases usually turn out to be bacterial (and therefore, treatable with antibiotics). If the viral cases can be dealt with outside of the doctor's surgery, it could ease doctor's workloads a little so others can get the medical attention they need.

Happy sore throat season, one and all.

There are 190 Superdrug pharmacies nationwide. You can find your nearest one using Superdrug’s online store locator tool.

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