What should you do if your child has a sore throat?
“Mommy, it hurts to swallow”, your child says as she looks up at you with a sad face and holds her throat. Sore throats have many possible root causes. It can sometimes be hard to decide when your child’s sore throat will get better on its own or when you need to take your child in to be seen by a doctor. Read on for some common causes of a sore throat, when to have your child seen by a doctor, and what you can do to help her feel better.
Sore throats are a very common ailment in kids, but can have many possible causes. One cause is the common cold. If accompanied by a stuffy or runny nose, a sore throat is likely a result of a cold. If a fever and chills are added in, however, your child may have the flu. Another possibility is strep throat. Strep throat will result in a more severe sore throat. Your child may refuse foods and drinks because of pain while swallowing, and also may have a fever. Strep throat is usually not accompanied by a runny nose and cough. If your child has sores in her mouth, and/or on the palms of her hands and soles of the feet, it could be coxsackie virus, commonly known as hand, foot, and mouth disease. If you child has allergies, post-nasal drip can also cause a sore throat. Finally, tonsillitis causes inflammation of the tonsils which could be caused by a virus or bacteria. This is by no means a complete list, however, since a sore throat is a common symptom, however, these are the most likely culprits.
Urgent care can help
When your child has a sore throat, it can sometimes be difficult to determine when to have your child seen. For a sore throat, watch your child over the course of the day. If his sore throat doesn’t get better within a day, or gets worse, take him/her in to get seen by a doctor. When a toddler has a sore throat, it can sometimes be hard to tell. Watch for other symptoms, such as drooling, or refusal to eat or drink as usual. Urgent care can perform a strep test and throat culture to make a determination as to the cause. You may then be prescribed antibiotics if it’s suspected the cause is bacterial. If a virus is suspected, antibiotics will not be prescribed because a virus is not susceptible to antibiotics. Also have your child seen right away if any of the accompanying symptoms become worrisome, like a high fever.
Remedies for a sore throat
At the first sign of a sore throat, there are some things you can do to help your child feel a little better. Warm drinks will feel good, while sometimes an ice pop or cold drinks feel better. A traditional sore throat soother is honey (never give honey to a child under the age of 1). For more severe pain, or before bed to help her sleep comfortably, some acetaminophen or ibuprofen can take away the pain.
It’s hard to see your child sick, but the good news is that most of the time a sore throat will go away quickly with some rest and care. When it’s something more, we’re here to help.
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