Family Health Guide

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Sore Throat: Symptoms


A sore throat hurts when your child swallows, and can feel dry and scratchy. “Dr. Mom” might also be able to appreciate swollen glands on the sides of the neck. Sore throat is often accompanied by other symptoms, depending on what the underlying cause is. A sore throat with minor cold/flu symptoms too, or without any other symptoms, will probably resolve on its own without medication. Signs that it may need treatment include white spots on the throat or tonsils, and a high fever. If your child’s throat is so sore and swollen that he’s having trouble breathing or swallowing, call 911.

Symptoms of sore throat-related illnesses include:

Strep throat

- Fever

- Headache

- Abdominal pain

- Chills

- Rash

- Difficulty swallowing foods

- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

- White patches/spots on back of throat or tonsils



- Fever

- Bad breath

- Difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing

- Swollen or tender lymph nodes in neck

- Laryngitis, or loss of voice

- Occasional abdominal pain in small children

- Sometimes vomiting



- Fever

- Painful red blisters in the mouth and on the tongue, gums, hard palate (the roof of the mouth), and inside cheeks, as well as on the palms of hands and bottoms of feet

- If the Coxsackievirus has caused herpangina, an infection of the throat will result, which causes red-ringed blisters and ulcers on the tonsils and soft palate (the flesh back portion of the roof of the mouth)

- Irritability in infants and toddlers


Scarlet Fever


-Rash that starts on the neck and face and spreads down the body

-White coating on tongue

-Red throat, sometimes with white patches

-Swollen or tender lymph nodes in neck

-Nausea and vomiting



Unlike strep throat, or the common sore throat, epiglottitis symptoms are more dramatic and life-threatening. They include:

- Fever

- Sore throat

- Difficulty swallowing and breathing

- Drooling

- General state of panic and anxiety

- Blueish skin or lips (due to lack of breath)

Your child may also assume the “tripod” position, where they lean over to breathe more easily. If you suspect epiglottitis, seek emergency medical attention.