Sore Throat in Kids - What You Should Know

  • Sore throats in kids are most commonly associated with viral colds/congestion. Nasal drainage down the throat also causes soreness. Time is likely to ease symptoms from this cause, as most sore throats associated with viral colds only last a few days.
  • Children with fever and sore throat that have no congestion at all should be evaluated for strep throat as the possible cause. This is only true about 20% of the time with this scenario, so that means 80 % of the time the cause will still be a viral condition for which there is no treatment.
  • Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen are good symptom relievers for sore throats. (See dosage chart.) Warm fluids help some children, others prefer cold ones. Popsicles help for reluctant drinkers.
  • Avoid salty or spicy foods or citrus, as these can make a sore throat feel worse. It might help to offer soft foods such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, oatmeal, soups.
  • Treat cold symptoms as usual, and this may help the sore throat.
  • Frequent hand washing is important to prevent spread of illness.

Call your child's health care provider or have your child seen if:

  • Your child will not drink at all, and may be dehydrated
  • Your child has trouble swallowing and is drooling excessively
  • Your child is having difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat with fever and no congestion
  • Fever occurs with an itchy spreading rash at the same time
  • Fever is higher than 105 or is 100.3-105 for more than 72 hours
  • This information did not help and you are concerned

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