When To Call: Sore Throat

It’s that time of year when many children develop upper respiratory infections, or the common cold. Your child’s symptoms may often include a sore throat.

A sore throat can cause irritation and pain with swallowing. You can help relieve your child’s sore throat pain with over-the-counter pain relievers. Warm liquids, such as chicken noodle soup, may also help. In most cases, a sore throat does not require a trip to see the doctor, and symptoms should go away when the cold subsides. If, however, your child’s symptoms increase, it could be an indication that something else is causing the sore throat, such as strep throat.

Call a doctor if your child’s sore throat is not relieved by over-the-counter pain medicine or when these symptoms occur:

  • A sudden fever
  • White patches on the back of your child’s throat (Use a flashlight to check.)
  • A headache in addition to the sore throat
  • Refusing to eat or loss of appetite
  • Trouble swallowing
  • A red rash
  • Aching joints
  • Extreme weakness or lethargy

Your child’s doctor can test for strep throat by swabbing the throat to see if group A strep bacteria is present. If strep is found, an antibiotic is often prescribed to help your child fight infection. If your child consistently experiences throat problems, including sore throat, throat infections and tonsillitis, it may be time to see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.

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