A sore throat can be a real pain and may leave your little one feeling grouchy. However, not all sore throats are created equal, and some can be symptoms of other conditions. In some cases, the sore throat may be down to environmental factors, while at other times, it may point to a more severe condition like strep throat or tonsillitis.
When your child starts complaining about a sore throat, you should take action immediately. There are several things you can do to minimize the symptoms, but before you do, it is essential to understand the difference between strep throat and a sore throat.
Kiddies of all ages will suffer from a sore throat at some point, and this is usually no cause for concern. In fact, sore throats can be treated easily at home and will get better after a few days.
The most common cause of sore throats is a viral infection, which may be the initial symptom of a common cold. There are all kinds of viruses out there, and there is very little you can do to prevent your child from catching one. Instead, you should make sure that they practice good personal hygiene from a young age, such as covering their mouths when they sneeze and regularly washing their hands.
Symptoms of a Sore Throat
As mentioned above, a sore throat is usually the starting point of a cold, but it could be the result of other viruses. In general, a regular sore throat will be accompanied by some of the following:
- Runny nose
- Low-grade fever
What to Do
The first thing you should do is see if you notice any blisters or inflammation around the tonsils. If you don’t notice anything, you should be able to treat the problem at home with a combination of liquids, rest, and salt water gargles. Older kids can be given Tylenol or Advil if they are in pain.
Things should improve after a few days. However, if there is no improvement or if their symptoms get worse, contact your pediatrician for advice.
Strep Throat is a bacterial infection that will present different symptoms depending on the age of your child. It is vital that you know the difference between strep throat and a sore throat, as strep throat will require a course of antibiotics. It will not get better through home treatments alone.
Symptoms of Strep Throat
Alongside a sore throat, there are several symptoms that will help you to distinguish between strep throat and a sore throat. These include:
- Red and white patches in the throat
- Fever (low-grade in infants, much higher in older children)
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Loss of appetite and difficulty swallowing
- Stomach or lower abdominal pain
What to Do
The first thing you should do if you notice any of the symptoms of strep throat is to book an appointment with your pediatrician. They will be able to take a swab to see if your child has strep throat and start your child on antibiotics.
Strep throat is highly contagious, so you should keep children home school for a few days and let them have plenty of rest. Make sure they use separate utensils and towels from the rest of the family, and that they regularly wash their hands, especially after they cough or sneeze.
In all cases, make sure they have plenty of fluids, and give them soup if they find it difficult to swallow.