Home Care GuidesSore Throat

Sore Throat

Here's what you should know

A common complaint from sick children is a sore throat. Sore throats can be incredibly painful and cause difficulty with eating and drinking, which can lead to dehydration. Thankfully, most causes of sore throat do not require an emergency medical visit.

Home care tips

There are also several things you can try at home to help your child's throat hurt less.

  • Warm tea with honey (if your child is over 1 year old)
  • Cold liquids or popsicles
  • Warm salty liquids like soup or broth
  • Ibuprofen (for kids older than 6 months) or Tylenol may be given if your child is uncomfortable

Remember to avoid overly acidic foods or fluids (like orange or other citrus juice) as well as spicy food. If your child's sore throat isn't getting better within a few days, or if you're worried, you should bring your child in for a visit with a medical provider.

When to contact a medical professional

Visit an emergency room for:

  • Sore or swelling throat that prevents breathing

  • Sore throat and stiff neck to the point that your child isn't wanting to move their neck around at all

Signs a sore throat needs same-day medical attention:

  • Sore or swelling throat that prevents breathing

  • White or red spots in the back of the throat

  • Refusing to drink liquids

  • If you're concerned, there's no reason not to go in
Note: If your child is not meeting these criteria, has dry lips or mouth, or their vomit contains flecks of blood, they should be seen same day by a provider.


This illness guide is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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If you think your child may have a life threatening emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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