First Aid: Sore Throat

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Parents

First AidSore throats are common at any age and can be one of the first signs of another illness, like a cold, the flu, or mononucleosis. They also can be caused by a strep throat infection, although this is rare in children younger than 2 years old.

Signs and Symptoms

  • painful throat
  • fever
  • swollen glands in the neck
  • bad breath
  • scratchiness in the throat
  • redness in the back of the mouth

What to Do

Here are some ways kids can relieve sore throat pain:

  • sip warm liquids
  • eat cold or frozen liquids (such as ice pops)
  • gargle with saltwater
  • suck on hard candy or throat lozenges (for kids age 4 or older)
  • take ibuprofen or acetaminophen as needed

Seek Medical Care

If Your Child:

  • has difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • is drooling (in a young child)
  • tires easily
  • has pus in the back of the throat
  • has a sore throat that lasts longer than a week

Think Prevention!

As with most common illnesses, preventing a sore throat starts with regular hand washing. Kids also can avoid sore throats by:

  • not sharing food utensils and glasses with others
  • avoiding contact with people who have sore throats

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014



Related Resources

OrganizationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
OrganizationAAP Pediatric Referral Department Use this website to find a pediatrician in your area or to find general health information for parents from birth through age 21.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.


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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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