Strep throat, tonsilitis, and pharyngitis are all causes of a sore throat. With strep throat, your throat becomes infected with the streptococcus bacteria. Strep throat is sometimes severe, persistent, and long-lasting (often for several days).
Tonsillitis means that your tonsils are infected. Your tonsils are responsible for helping keep harmful bacteria and other organisms out of your body. When they are infected, you can become sick very quickly. Tonsillitis is typically caused by either a virus or bacteria, such as the bacteria that causes strep throat.
Pharyngitis is the most common reason children come in for doctors visits. This type of sore throat means that the pharynx at the back of your throat is inflamed from either a bacterial or viral infection. It makes your throat feel scratchy and makes swallowing difficult.
It depends on the cause and your child’s age. With older children, you can have them gargle warm salt water to ease sore throat pain. Drinking lots of warm tea, water, soup, or other hot liquid is beneficial for minimizing inflammation and getting rid of mucus.
In some cases, your child’s pediatrician can prescribe antibiotic medications, but this only works with bacterial infections. Viral infections, including some types of tonsillitis, may just need time. But, if your child has a severe viral infection, they may need pain medications or decongestants while the virus runs its course. Sometimes the doctor can tell whether the infection is caused by a virus or a bacteria with the examination, but often a lab test with a throat swab is required.
Your child may need his or her tonsils removed if tonsillitis is severe. This is usually only an option if tonsillitis:
Causes sleeping problems
Causes an abscess
You know your child better than anyone else, so you can probably tell when something's seriously wrong. While most sore throats don’t require a doctor’s visit for treatment, it also depends on your child’s age.
Younger children, for instance, might not be able to tell you everything they’re feeling, so you need to watch for signs of a severe sore throat.
Some of the sore throat concerns you need to be aware of include:
Difficulty swallowing or drooling
Rashes or high fevers
Throat swelling or lumps
If your child has a severe sore throat or symptoms that last for more than a week, make an appointment right away.
Feel free to email us regarding any scheduling or general questions!