I’m in agony with strep throat but I’m not allowed antibiotics... what do I do?

Posted , 4 users are following.

I’ve had a sore throat for a few days and it’s getting worse and worse and it’s not at the point where every time I swallow or drink water I feel as though I’m drinking a glass of razor blades. That’s honestly the most accurate way I can describe it. 

I went to the walk in centre early this morning (I haven’t slept at all as it has kept me up all night) and when I got seen to I was told I can’t have any antibiotics and that I’ll just have to wait it out. 

I had tonsillitis a few months ago and I was given antibiotics and I felt relief within just a day. The pain I have now is more severe than then (and it was quite horrendous then) but I’m still not allowed any medication as I only meet 2/4 criteria (I didn’t have a fever or swollen lymph nodes). 

I’ve gargled warm salt water several times every day, taken antiseptic lozenges, drank green tea with honey, steamed my face for moisture, taken paracetamol and co codamol, and NON of it has done anything. I still feel as though I’m being stabbed in the throat with needles. 

I’ve actually cried with the pain and I worry it will keep me awake for another night. Sorry this was so long winded, is there anything else I can do? I’m going to try gargling with aspirin but I don’t have much hope. Any advice would be very much appreciated!

0 likes, 13 replies

Report

13 Replies

  • Posted

    I’ve had tonsillitis 8 times in the last 7 months and the only thing that ever worked was antibiotics. I also didn’t have fever or enlarged tonsils. I would recommend going back to doctor and insisting on antibiotics as it can get so much worse if untreated and it just doesn’t do away on its own. 
    Report Reply
    • Posted

      I read that it could get much worse, which just made me more confused as to why they were unwilling to help. 

      Thanks for your advice, I will try making an appointment with my GP and see if I get better results than that of the nurse

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      I don't believe this is sound advice.

      We know that one doctor's "tonsillitis" is another doctor's "sore throat". We know that you can't reliably tell if someone has a viral or a bacterial infection by looking. the CENTOR criteria (see above) help a bit.

      The scientific evidence (as opposed to "I took a pill and I felt better/worse"wink is that the benefits of antibiotics are small. There is also scientific evidence that if you take antibiotics you are more likely to have an infection that is resistant to antibiotics even up to a year later. So it puts you personally at risk of a resistant infection.

      Finally, this type of widespread use of antibiotics is contributing to antibiotic resistance.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      I don't understand why you think they were "unwilling to help". If the treatment is not going to have any effect then it would be like quite wrong to prescribe it. If I went to my doctor and said I would like snake oil to cure my skin condition she would be quite correct to refuse it. It would not mean she was "unwilling to help".

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Antibiotics are effective for treating strep throat, they are trying to lower the amount of people using antibiotics.
      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Unfortunately my previous post is still being moderated.

      How do you know this is a Streptococcal infection? The only reliable way to know is through a rapid antigen test or a throat swab. A sort of half reliable indication is using the CENTOR criteria (you can google this - it was all in the previous post) which is a symptom and age check-list.

      The effect of antibiotics is at best modest (google Cochrane Review sore throat and antibiotics for the most reliable evidence of effectiveness). According to this evidence, about one in six extra people treated with antibiotics will see a significant improvement after 3 days compared to dummy pills - five in six won't see any difference.

      In developed countries rheumatic fever very rare and it is exceptionally rare for it to affect adults.

       

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Unfortunately my previous post is still being moderated.

      How do you know this is a Streptococcal infection? The only reliable way to know is through a rapid antigen test or a throat swab. A sort of half reliable indication is using the CENTOR criteria (you can google this - it was all in the previous post) which is a symptom and age check-list.

      The effect of antibiotics is at best modest (google Cochrane Review sore throat and antibiotics for the most reliable evidence of effectiveness). According to this evidence, about one in six extra people treated with antibiotics will see a significant improvement after 3 days compared to dummy pills - five in six won't see any difference.

      In developed countries rheumatic fever very rare and it is exceptionally rare for it to affect adults.

       

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      The tonsils were also very red and swollen and tongue had a yellow coating. Luckily the pain has subsided massively so hopefully it’s the end stages now. 

      I’ve found that a combination of co codamol, medicated lozenges, hot drinks and aspirin gargles made the pain a bit more bearable. 

      Report Reply
  • Posted

    If you are in pain, take painkillers. Ibuprofen 400mg four times a day and paracetamol 1g four times a day. You can alternate them: ibuprofen, then paracetamol a few hours later. Better to use them continuously for a couple of days than to wait for the pain to get bad. 

    Most sore throats are viral and antibiotics will have no effect. I don't know how you know you have a Streptococcal throat infection. Have you had a rapid antigen test to confirm this? Or has a throat swab been taken and the bacteria been identified?

    The other (less reliable) way to decide if it is likely to be a Streptococcal throat infection is using the CENTOR criteria. You can ask yourself the following questions:

    Do you have a cough? Yes = 0 No = +1

    Is there any pus visible on your tonsils? Yes = +1 No = 0

    Do you have a high temperature? (ideally measured)  Yes = +1 No = 0

    Do you have enlarged, tender glands in your neck? Yes = +1 No = 0

    Are you aged under 15 years?  Yes = +1 No = 0

    Are you aged over 44 years?  Yes = -1 (ie: subtract 1) No = 0

    If you score 4 or 5 it is about 50:50 that you have Streptococcal sore throat

    If you score 2 or 3 it is possible (1 in 3)

    If you score 0 or 1 it is very unlikely

    Unfortunately "I took treatment X and I felt better" is not considered very reliable evidence of effectiveness as it is impossible to know what would have happened if "I didn't take treatment X". The most comprehensive summary of the best scientific evidence (studies comparing people who took antibiotics to people who took dummy pills) shows that on average antibiotics make the symptoms last about 16 hours less in total. I have provided a link to the source of this evidence. If you definitely have Streptococcal infection about half of people see have an improvement in their symptoms after 3 days with antibiotics compared to dummy pills (or to put it another way, about half see no difference!)

    [url]https://www.cochrane.org/CD000023/ARI_antibiotics-people-sore-throats[/url]

     

    Report Reply
  • Posted

    Doctors in UK are under instructions not to prescribe antibiotics for various minor ailments.   A sore throat may be very painful,I agree but if it is viral then antibiotics wont cure it.    Look at your tonsils...are they white and look full of pus?  If yes,then you may need antibiotics,but if not then it may be viral and you are unlikely to get any.

    You are doing all the right "self help" things. I know its horrible but it will get better.

    Tyrozets throat lozenges contain a local anaesthetic which can be very helpful. You can buy them OTC.

    If you continue to be concerned then do see your GP.

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you for the advice. I understand their reasons for not providing antibiotics for such situations, however I do worry that if it carries on it could lead to worse things (e.g. Rheumatic fever).

      I’ll continue with the home remedies for now, though I do think if the pain doesn’t lessen within the next couple of days and I’m still unable to sleep I’m going to try again for the antibiotics. 

      Report Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up