Sore throats are common at any age. Although they can be upsetting for children, they are usually not a cause for concern and normally get better by themselves within a few days.
Most sore throats in kids and babies are linked to a viral infection – such as a cold or the flu – which is easily spread among children (and adults) either at home, or when they are at school or in childcare. These types of viral infections quickly spread by infected droplets from the nose and mouth through coughing and sneezing.
Colds are very common among young children, as their immune systems are still developing. It can sometimes feel like your child is always getting sick. But the good news is most children will catch fewer colds as they get older.
Sore throats can also be caused by bacterial infections, or other things such as allergies and air pollution.
What are the signs to look out for if your child has a sore throat? The obvious one is, of course, that they are complaining of a pain in their throat – especially when swallowing.
When your child has a sore throat they may also:
A sore throat may be one of the first things you notice when your child is starting to get a cold – with their throat becoming dry and sore a few days before other symptoms are noticed.
Other cold symptoms that are common in children include:
Fever, vomiting and diarrhoea are less commonly seen with colds and sore throats but can occur with viral infections. These symptoms may also indicate something more serious is going on. If you’re concerned about any symptoms your child has or they are distressing your child, you should talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional.
Sore throats can make your child feel sick and miserable, but there are things you can do to help soothe a sore throat and make them feel more comfortable.
Depending on the age of your child, you could:
It’s also important to make sure your child rests and drinks plenty of fluids when they don’t feel well.
Find out more about fever in kids and babies
Most sore throats are usually only mild and clear up without needing special treatment – but it is important to monitor your child’s health in case their condition gets worse.
If the sore throat lasts for more than a few days, your child has a fever and is feeling unwell – it’s time to see your doctor to get things checked out.
You need to get medical help if your child has a sore throat and also:
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