Sore Throat or Strep Throat?

If your child complains of a sore throat, consider if there are other symptoms. Do they have a runny nose that might be causing drainage in the throat? 

Does my child have a sore throat or is it strep?

Strep throat is much more persistent than a sore throat, and the pain during swallowing is much more accentuated. Children will also not handle strep throat very well and will complain of a lot of discomfort while swallowing.

You don’t need a medical degree to identify a sore throat. As it gets more agitated, it is normally easy to see the redness by shining a flashlight toward the back of your child’s throat. Be sure to use a face mask when checking, because if the redness is accompanied by white spots at the back of the throat, it could be more than a common cold. It may be highly contagious strep throat.

A sore throat from a virus has no immediate cure beyond treating the symptoms, like if they have a fever. It needs to run its course. A simple cough due to throat irritation such as dust or a minor allergy is more “dry” sounding similar to when your own throat has a tickle in it.

How do I tell if my child has strep throat?

Strep throat, while rare in babies, can be contagious between kids. If they touch the same toy or are near a cough or sneeze of another child they can become infected.

Strep throat symptoms include:

  • Trouble swallowing 
  • Trouble talking
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Abdominal pain

If your child has these symptoms, see the doctor. 

How do you treat strep throat in children?

Contact a pediatrician and they will do a quick swab of the throat to check for the streptococcus bacteria. If the test is positive your child will need an antibiotic to treat the strep.

It’s important to make sure they take the antibiotic for the full prescribed time, even if their throat starts to feel better to ensure the strep bacteria are really gone.

24/7 Pediatric Care Centers are Jacksonville pediatricians, Jacksonville Beach pediatricians, and Fleming Island pediatricians providing care for children from newborn to 18 years. Our 24-hour office also provides services for non-life-threatening illnesses to registered patients 24 hours a day.

24/7 Pediatric Care Centers is not a substitute for Emergency or Trauma-related medical care.
If you feel your child is experiencing a life-threatening event, immediately call 911.