Sore throat or pharyngitis, is a feeling of pain or discomfort in the throat.

In children too young to talk, a sore throat may be suspected if they refuse to eat or begin to cry during feeding.


A sore throat may be caused by a variety of germs. The predominant causes are infections by viruses. It can also be caused by bacteria or a fungus. Other causes are allergies, with post-nasal drainage, irritation from smoke or chemical fumes, and trauma.


Typical symptoms include pain, swelling, redness, a tickle or lump in the throat, and cough. There may be swollen glands in the neck. The child may also have a fever or headache, and some vomit. Children with a really bad sore throat may drool or have trouble swallowing and talking. A few develop a typical rash associated with, especially if it is caused by strep (Streptococcus).


If the doctor suspects a treatable infection, you may receive antibiotics, if bacterial, or some other appropriate remedy.

Other measures that may be taken to relieve symptoms are described below.

What you should do

  • Children over the age of 6 years old can gargle with mouthwash or warm salt water (1teaspoon salt in 1 cup water) several times a day. Encourage them NOT TO SWALLOW the mouthwash or salt water.
  • Children over 4 years of age can suck on hard candy this may ease the pain.
  • You also can take over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen for fever or pain in the throat. Make sure to follow all instructions for any medications exactly as directed.
  • If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics, finish all the medication even if you feel well. If you don’t, the infection may return.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier (vaporizer) to increase air moisture and help relieve the tight, dry feeling in your throat. Do not use hot steam.
  • Do not drink acidic products like orange juice, apple juice, grape juice or cherry juice for a few days to prevent more irritation to the throat.
  • You may be more comfortable only eating soft foods or cool drinking liquids.

Call Your Doctor If…

  • Pain in the throat gets worse or is not better in a few days.
  • Your child develops a high fever.
  • Your child develops a rash.

Seek Care Immediately If…

  • Your child has trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • Your child has a really bad throat pain
  • Your child start to drool.