Sore Throat

Disponible En Espanol

Care at Home

  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Most sore throats are just part of a cold and caused by a virus. * A cough, hoarse voice or nasal discharge points to a cold as the cause. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • SORE THROAT PAIN RELIEF: * Age over 1 year. Can sip warm fluids such as chicken broth or apple juice. * Age over 6 years. Can also suck on hard candy or lollipops. Butterscotch seems to help. * Age over 8 years. Can also gargle. Use warm water with a little table salt added. A liquid antacid can be added instead of salt. Use Mylanta or the store brand. No prescription is needed. * Medicated throat sprays or lozenges are generally not helpful.
  • PAIN MEDICINE: * To help with the pain, give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Use as needed. See Dose Table.
  • FLUIDS AND SOFT DIET: * Try to get your child to drink adequate fluids. * Goal: Keep your child well hydrated. * Cold drinks, milk shakes, popsicles, slushes, and sherbet are good choices. * Solids. Offer a soft diet. Also avoid foods that need much chewing. Avoid citrus, salty, or spicy foods. Note: Fluid intake is much more important than eating any solids. * Swollen tonsils can make some solid foods hard to swallow.
  • RETURN TO SCHOOL: * Your child can return to school after the fever is gone. Your child should feel well enough to join in normal activities. * Also, children with Strep throat need to be taking an antibiotic for 24 hours.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * Most often, sore throats with a viral illness last 4 or 5 days.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * Sore throat is the main symptom and lasts more than 48 hours * Sore throat with a cold lasts more than 5 days * Fever lasts more than 3 days * Your child becomes worse
  • FEVER: * For fevers above 102° F (39° C), give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. See Dose Table. Note: Lower fevers are important for fighting infections. * For ALL fevers: Keep your child well hydrated. Give lots of cold fluids.


The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
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    • Your child's doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

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