Sore throats can be caused by inflammation of the tonsils (tonsillitis), the larynx (laryngitis) or the pharynx (pharyngitis). The tonsils are the spongy looking areas on either side of the arch as you look at the back of the throat, the pharynx is the bit beyond the arch – the back of the throat – and the larynx you can’t see because it is too far down but you know you have laryngitis if you are hoarse. Younger children may develop croup if their larynx is affected.
All sore throats may be accompanied by a fever, nasal congestion and a cough. There will also be swollen glands. Tonsillitis will generally be the worst of the three and causes a child to be generally unwell.
What you can do…
o First of all treat as for a fever. If the child is otherwise OK she may not need to see a doctor and you will be able to treat her yourself.
o The vast majority of sore throats are caused by viruses. Antibiotics make absolutely no difference to the progress of the disease. Doctors may decide to treat tonsillitis with antibiotics but pharyngitis does not respond to antibiotics. Thankfully it only lasts a few days.
o In older children painkilling lozenges may help – ask your pharmacist.
o All sore throats cause pain on swallowing but if the child has difficulty in swallowing contact your doctor.
This article is a guide only – please seek advice from your medical advisor in all cases.