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Sore Throat In Kids—What you should know

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Treat cold symptoms as usual, and this may help the sore throat.
  6. 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