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Sore Throat

Sore throat (pharyngitis) involves pain, discomfort, or a raw feeling in the throat, especially with swallowing. Children under age 2 usually are unable to complain about a sore throat and may refuse to eat or drink or cry during feedings.

Most sore throats are part of a cold and therefore are caused by viruses. The presence of a cough, hoarseness, or nasal symptoms usually means a viral infection. 20% of severe sore throats are caused by strep bacteria.


  • Local pain relief:
    • Children older than age 1 can sip warm chicken broth or apple juice.
    • Children older than age 4 can suck on hard candy or lollipops.
    • Children older than age 6 can gargle warm water with a little table salt.
  • Pain medication:
    • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) for severe throat discomfort or fever that is greater than 102ºF.
  • Soft diet:
    • Cold drinks and milk shakes are good for soothing sore throats.
boy having examination

Call The Office If Your Child Exhibits:

  • Great difficulty swallowing fluids or saliva.
  • Difficulty breathing or stiff neck.
  • Inability to open the mouth completely.
  • A fever that exceeds 105ºF.
  • Signs of dehydration (very dry mouth, no tears with crying, and no urine for more than 8 hours).
  • Severe throat pain.
  • Rash that is widespread and/or spreading.
  • An ear ache.
  • A sore throat that lasts longer than 24 hours, when the sore throat is main (or only) symptom.
  • A sore throat with cough/cold symptoms that is present for more than 3 days.
  • Your child's symptoms become worse.