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Q: Every year I seem to wind up with a sore throat. What do you recommend?

A. Believe it or not a sore throat is one of the most common reasons for people to visit their GP.

You know you’re in for some tonsil torment the minute your throat feels slightly scratchy.

As the body tries to flush out the virus, mucus production increases and your nose may either run or become blocked. Your temperature may rise as your body tries to ensure the virus doesn’t replicate and then, if the virus really gets a grip on your throat, you may end up with a cough.

Sometimes a severe or persistent sore throat will be due to a bacterial infection, in which case antibiotics are needed to clear it up, but most are caused by a viral infection, often a cold or flu, which means they won’t respond to antibiotics.

Happily there are a number of remedies that can help to guard against a sore throat.

Perhaps one of the most effective and well-researched is Echinacea. A powerful immune-balancing herb, it works by improving the way the immune system responds to bugs.

It can halve the risk of catching a cold and in a report published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, was shown to be an effective treatment for existing colds, flu and sore throats.

Then there’s Salvia officinalis or Sage, which has a long tradition of use as a gargle for sore or infected throats.

A Vogel’s Echinaforce Sore Throat Spray contains both. Simply spray two times onto the back of the throat twice daily or if symptoms are severe, two sprays from six to ten times a day.

The spray has a numbing effect which helps to ease the pain, while Echinacea and Sage get to work on fighting the infection.

Plus you can use it alongside pain-relieving medication without increasing the intake of paracetamol – something many people do unintentionally, with unpleasant consequences for their liver.

For children aged between six and twelve, it’s half the adult dose.

If a sore throat does not start to improve within five days or if it worsens after this time, consult your GP.