Sore Throat: Brief Version
What is a sore throat?
Viruses that cause colds cause most sore throats. Strep bacteria causes some sore throats. Your doctor may take a throat culture to find out if the sore throat is caused by a virus or strep.
Your older child can tell you if he has a sore throat. A younger child may have a sore throat if he cries when he eats. Or your child may not eat. Your child’s tonsils may also be red and swollen.
How can I take care of my child?
- Help the throat feel better.
If your child is over age 1, give warm chicken broth or apple juice.
Children over age 6 can suck on hard candy or lollipops to make the throat feel better. Children over age 8 can also gargle with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon of salt per glass).
- Give a soft diet.
If your child has a sore throat, some foods can be hard to swallow. Cold drinks and milkshakes are good. Do not give your child salty or spicy foods or citrus fruits.
- Give pain medicine.
Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for the sore throat or for a fever. No aspirin.
Call your doctor right away if:
- Your child drools or has a hard time swallowing.
- It is hard for your child to breathe.
- Your child acts very sick.
Call your child’s doctor during office hours if:
- Your child has a sore throat for more than 48 hours.
- Your child has a fever and no other cold symptoms.
- You think your child may need a Strep test.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of â€œMy Child Is Sick,â€ American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-07-20
Last reviewed: 2014-06-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright Â©1986-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.