Sore throats are common in children and are usually nothing to worry about. According to Harvard Health, sore throats are usually a symptom of a virus and will eventually go away on their own. If your child is experiencing a sore throat due to a virus, they may also have symptoms such as a cough, runny nose, or fever, and they may feel miserable.
Steps to Treat Their Sore Throat
The best treatment for a virus is to allow your child to rest at home while their immune system fights off the illness. In the meantime, you can take some steps to help your child feel better and to ease their sore throat pain.
1. Have your child sip warm liquids, such as chicken broth, warm apple juice, tea, or warm water with lemon and honey. Warm liquids can also help ease a dry cough. Throat pain can make children reluctant to eat or drink, which can lead to dehydration. Encourage your child to sip liquids throughout the day, keep a variety of soothing beverages on hand, and monitor your child for signs of dehydration.
2. Give your child cold or frozen foods, such as refrigerated Jell-O, sherbert, or popsicles.
3. If your child is over the age of four, they can suck on throat lozenges or use throat sprays. Read the label to ensure you provide the correct dose for your child. Younger children may find it helpful to suck on hard candy, but do not give hard candy or lozenges to children younger than four, as they could choke on them. Honey can also help soothe throat pain, but do not give honey to children younger than 12 months as it can cause infant botulism.
4. Children over the age of six can gargle with saltwater. Gargling with warm salt water once an hour may help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Make sure your child spits out the water and does not swallow it. Mix one teaspoon of salt with one cup of water, or use over-the-counter saltwater rinse safe for children, such as Pedia Gargle.
5. Use children’s over-the-counter pain relievers such as children’s Tylenol or ibuprofen.
6. Keep the air humid. Dry air can further irritate a sore throat. Bring your child into the bathroom, shut the door, and run the hot water. Breathing the steam can help reduce swelling and ease throat pain. You can also try using a cool-mist humidifier in your child’s room at night.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Your child’s symptoms should improve in a few days. Seek medical care if your child has difficulty breathing or swallowing, won’t drink liquids, has a fever of 102°F or higher, or has a sore throat that lasts longer than a few days.