1,2,3 step approach applied to sore throat
Address the patient's concerns
- Identify the patient’s main symptom or concern and ascertain how unwell they are.
- Doctors should perform a clinical assessment of the head and neck. Check glands and tonsils.
Be vigilant – assess severity
- For doctors: Use the Centor criteria to identify risk of GABHS and identify potential risk factors (NB. It is difficult to distinguish between viral and bacterial infections due to the similar nature of symptoms).
- For pharmacy: Identify risk factors, co-morbidities and/or red flag symptoms and refer when needed.
Counsel on effective self-management
- Provide reassurance for the patient, recommend symptomatic relief and, if required, advise the patient when they should see a doctor.
- Explain why antibiotics are not needed together with the benefits that symptomatic relief can provide.
- The pharmacy can help explain to patients the range of symptomatic relief products available.