There are many reasons for a sore throat. Your child could have “post-nasal drip” from allergies or a cold that causes irritation of the throat. A virus could also directly cause irritation of the throat. A bacterial infection, like strep throat, could additionally cause irritation. Allergies, viral infections, and strep throat are all associated with a sore throat.
No matter the cause, your child will be complaining and you will want to help.
What you can do to help your child with a sore throat:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) will help with pain – see section on fever for dose
- Cool beverages or popsicles. These will help ease the pain. Stay away from acidic things like orange juice because this could irritate a sore throat.
- Sucking on a throat lozenge or piece of hard candy (over age 4) will provide relief too.
- If your child is old enough, gargling with warm-salty water or water with a little lemon juice and honey (over age 1), may help.
- For sore throats due to “post-nasal drip”, saline nose drops may help some of the congestion causing the sore throat.
- For sore throats due to allergies, allergy medication may be beneficial.
Reasons to call the doctor during regular hours:
- If your child has a sore throat lasting three or more days, without a runny nose or other cold symptoms
- If your child has a sore throat and has been exposed to strep throat
- If the above methods do not help the throat pain
- If your child has a sore throat and a rash, headache, or vomiting
Reasons to call the doctor immediately:
- Any trouble breathing
- If your child is very ill
- Anytime that you are concerned.