Here comes the cold and flu season – and the dreaded sore throat

A sore throat or pharyngitis, is often the first sign of a cold1. It is reported as one of the most common reasons for patients visiting their doctor or even staying away from work.2 A sore throat caused by a cold typically goes away within a day or two1 but in order to treat a sore throat properly, it is important to identify its cause.2 But how do you know if a sore throat is caused by the common cold, strep throat, or tonsillitis? And how do you know if it is bacterial or viral?

Pharyngitis can be caused by bacterial or viral infections2. In fact, there are many viral and bacterial agents that can cause a sore throat, although viruses are the most common cause.2 Viral sore throats are often accompanied by other cold symptoms, which can include a runny nose, cough, red or watery eyes, and sneezing1. These types of viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, and treatment typically includes products to provide symptomatic relief of symptoms.2

Ironically, although only 5-10 % of throat infections are bacterial, 75 % of adults who present with a sore throat are prescribed antibiotics.3 Overuse and misuse of antibiotics are the main drivers of antibiotic-resistant infections.4

Less commonly, pharyngitis is caused by a bacterial infection.2 The most common bacterial infection of the throat is strep throat2 or streptococcal pharyngitis.5 In bacterial infections such as strep throat, antibiotics are often necessary.2 It is vital that patients complete their course of antibiotics to prevent their infection from worsening or returning.2

Sometimes, a sore throat is caused by tonsillitis, which is described as an inflammation of the tonsils. Once again, tonsillitis can be caused by viruses or bacteria. Although the function of the tonsils is to help fight infection, the tonsils themselves can become infected, which can result in a painful, inflamed sore throat.1

Although there is no cure for a sore throat caused by a cold virus, there are home remedies that can help you feel more comfortable, such as drinking warm liquids, gargling with warm salt water or sucking on ice chips. Taking an over-the-counter medicine can also help relieve symptoms such as pain or fever.1

When your throat is on fire and feels like a cactus, one over the counter medication that can provide fast and effective relief is Andolex®-C Spray.6,7,8 Andolex®-C Spray; part of the Andolex® range, is the number one prescribed product by general practitioners and dentists9 for the relief of a sore throat, mouth and or gums.7 Even for those patients on antibiotics, an additional over-the-counter solution for the relief of sore throat symptoms can be helpful10. So, arm yourself this cold and flu season with the right facts and treatments!

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist or go to www.andolex.co.za for more information.

DISCLAIMER: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

Name and business address of applicant: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Limited. Co. Reg. No.1952/001640/07, 15E Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. www.inovapharma.co.za. For full prescribing information, refer to the individual package inserts as approved by the Medicines Control Council (MCC). Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals. IN2745/18


  1. WEBMD – Is Your Sore Throat a Cold, Strep Throat, or Tonsillitis? (https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/sore-throat-cold-strep-throat-tonsillitis#1 ) Website accessed on 24 April 2018
  2. Healthline – Pharyngitis (https://www.healthline.com/health/pharyngitis). Website accessed on 24 April 2018
  3. Claassen J. The sore throat. Antibiotics are overprescribed for sore throat in general practice. CME 2012;30(9):306-313.
  4. Ventola MS. The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis. US National Library of Medicine. National Institute of Health (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4378521/) Website accessed on 25 April 2018
  5. News Medical Life Sciences. What is Strep Throat (https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Strep-Throat.aspx). Website accessed on 24 April 2018
  6. Simard-Savoie S, et al. Topical anaesthetic activity of benzydamine. Curr Ther Res 1978;23(6):634-745.
  7. Almazan NA. Benzydamine HCl 0.15 % for oropharyngeal diseases and surgeries: A review of clinical trials. Philip Scientific J 2009;42(1):37-42.
  8. Andolex-C oral rinse approved package insert.
  9. Andolex-C Spray Impact RX January 2018 (Constructed Market).
  10. Cingi C, Songu M, Ural A, et al. Effect of chlorhexidine gluconate and benzydamine hydrochloride mouth spray on clinical signs and quality of life of patients with streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis: multicentre, prospective, randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study. J Laryngol Otol 2011;125:620–625.