Sore Throat

A sore throat is usually caused by a virus or bacteria. It may be called pharyngitis or strep throat. It may also be part of a cold, mononucleosis, sinus drainage, ear infection or tonsillitis.

Things to do for a sore throat:
  • Encourage your child to drink fluids – cold or warm depending on what your child likes. You may want to avoid giving citrus fluids or milk while your child has a sore throat.
  • You may have your child (over 4 years of age) suck on hard candy or throat lozenges to help soothe the soreness. You may also use a sore throat spray as directed on the package.
  • Older children (usually over 8 years of age): Gargle with warm salt water (1/4 tsp. of salt in 8 oz, glass of water), four times a day or more frequently if desired.
  • You may give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (for children over the age of 6 months) for fever over 102° F (38° C). Be sure to follow the package directions for the amount to give your child based on his age and weight. Do not give more than five doses of acetaminophen or or 4 doses of ibuprofen in 24 hours.
  • A cool mist humidifier or moist air may help to soothe the soreness of your child’s throat due to dry air.
Special instructions for strep throat:

If your child has had a throat culture for strep throat, call the doctor’s office in

48 hours

for the results of the test. If the culture is positive for strep bacteria, your child will need an antibiotic. Penicillin by injection or by mouth is usually prescribed. Your child can pass the strep bacteria to others. Once he has taken medicine for 24 hours, he is no longer contagious. He can go back to school and continue his regular activities when he is feeling up to it. Good and frequent handwashing should be encouraged for you, your child and anyone caring for your child. Do not allow sharing of drinking and eating utensils.

Call your child’s if your child:
  • Has ear pain.
  • Acts very sick.
  • Has a fever of 101° (38.3° C) for more than three days.
  • Is not drinking fluids.
Go to the Emergency Room if your child:
  • Drools or cannot swallow.
  • Has trouble breathing (that is not due to stuffy nose).