My child appears to have a sore throat – he’s uncomfortable swallowing and his cry sounds scratchy. Could it be caused by an infection?
It’s possible. Your child might have a sore throat caused by any one of a number of illnesses, such as a cold or flu virus. Measles, chickenpox, and croup can also cause a sore throat. In truth, the most frequent cause of a sore throat is a viral infection. If the doctor detects tonsillitis, it suggests that the bumpy tissue on either side of the back of your child’s throat is infected with a virus or bacteria.
Causes and symptoms of sore throat in babies & toddlers
The most typical bacterial culprit is streptococcus (strep), but this is uncommon in babies and toddlers. Another bacterial infection that can cause a sore throat is whooping cough.
Irritants in the air– previously owned tobacco smoke, cat or dog dander, dust, and pollen from ragweed, yard, and trees– can likewise bother a child’s throat and trigger the cold-like symptoms known as allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.
Even dry heat can make it hard for your child to swallow if he has the tendency to sleep with his mouth open. If this is the case, his mouth will be dry when he gets up, but he’ll feel great as soon as he’s had something to drink.
There are other reasons why your child may have difficulty swallowing. If he has lesions in his mouth from gingivostomatitis (which can likewise cause a sore throat) or hand, foot, and mouth disease, for instance, they can keep him pretty unpleasant. So might thrush or teething– could a new tooth be making its escape?
Should I take my child to the doctor?
If your child has sores in her mouth, you’ll wish to have the doctor have a look at them. And due to the fact that bacterial infections can spread out and harm other parts of your child’s body if left neglected, it’s important to have the doctor look at your child’s throat if you think it’s anything more than dry or mildly irritated.
Also bring your child to the doctor right now if:
- her throat looks infected (brilliant red, swollen, or flecked with pus).
- you think she cannot swallow quickly or open wide.
- her breathing is labored.
- she has an anorexia nervosa, signs of dehydration, excessive drooling, a stiff neck, or over-the-top crankiness.
If you choose that your child’s sore throat is mild enough that it doesn’t warrant a trip to the doctor, still give him a call if it lasts longer than a week.
Go to the doctor if your child is younger than 3 months and is running a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or greater. If he’s at least 3 months old, ask his doctor about any fever. She might wish to see him if he’s between 3 and 6 months old and he has sore throat symptoms and his fever gets to 101 degrees F (38.3 degrees C), or if he’s over 6 months and it reaches 103 degrees F (39.4 degrees C).
Is a sore throat ever an emergency?
Very seldom. The only throat condition that’s truly an emergency situation is epiglottitis, which is now very uncommon thanks to the Hib vaccine. An infection of the flap of throat tissue that avoids food and liquids from decreasing the windpipe, epiglottitis makes it hard to breathe as well as to swallow.
A child with epiglottitis quickly turns feverish (with a temperature level above 101 degrees F), develops raspy breathing, and often drools. If your child has these symptoms, call the doctor immediately. If your child’s having trouble breathing, call 911.
If you believe epiglottitis:
- keep your child staying up.
- don’t try to analyze his throat.
- do not offer him food or drink, as it might make breathing harder.
If the doctor thinks it might be epiglottitis, you’ll have to take your child straight to the emergency room for treatment.
How to get rid of sore throat in babies
For the majority of viral infections, no treatment is available or necessary. Your child’s immune system can generally conquer a virus within a week. She’ll benefit from lots of rest and fluids.
If your child’s doctor suspects a bacterial infection, he’ll take a sample of cells from her throat. This quick test is easier to endure than a shot. The doctor swabs the back of the throat– gag!– and it’s over.
A lot of physicians will run a fast strep test that offers results within 10 minutes. If the test is negative, the sample will typically be sent out for a more precise one- to two-day culture, to double-check the results.
If it turns out that your child does have a bacterial infection (like strep), the doctor will recommend an antibiotic. Follow the guidelines to the letter for providing your child her medication. Don’t slack off– if you stop giving the antibiotic prematurely, the bacteria can rally and reemerge quickly in a more severe kind.
If your child establishes an aggressive infection, you may need to bring her to the medical facility for a number of days to receive drugs or fluids intravenously, according to iytmed.org.
How contagious is a sore throat?
Bacterial and viral infections are extremely contagious. Wash your child’s hands often and, if he’s old enough to be eating solids, make certain nobody shares eating utensils, cups, or toothbrushes with him. Wash your own hands typically, too, particularly after diaper changes.
Your child’s doctor will let you understand how soon your child can go back to daycare, however in general you’ll have to keep him home up until he’s feeling much better and– if it’s a bacterial infection– he’s been on his antibiotic for at least 24 hours.
How can I relieve the pain of my child’s sore throat?
If your child’s old adequate to be eating solids, warm drinks– tea or broth, for instance– can be calming. (Skip the honey in the tea till your baby is at least a year old, though. Honey might contain botulism spores that can grow in a baby’s immature intestinal tract.) Your child might likewise take pleasure in a cool drink of apple juice or an ice pop. Avoid citrus juices, though, as these can make your child’s throat feel even worse.
Remember that it’s essential to keep your child from transforming into dehydrated, so although it may hurt to swallow, she’ll need a lot of fluids, particularly if she’s running a fever. For young infants, that implies breast milk or formula. If it’s hard for your baby to swallow, attempt offering her smaller amounts to drink more frequently than typical.
If your child’s actually uncomfortable, ask the doctor whether you can give her a painkiller such as infant acetaminophen or, if she’s 6 months or older, ibuprofen. Never ever give a child aspirin, which is related to an unusual however serious condition called Reye’s syndrome.
Try a cool mist vaporizer or humidifier in your child’s bed room to dampen the air and relieve her throat. Make sure to keep the filters clean, or they can add germs to the air.
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