Family Health Guide

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Sore Throat: Treatment

Treatment for sore throat depends on the root cause of the pain. In many cases, the sore throat is caused by a virus that will go away on its own and requires no treatment at all, other than making your child comfortable with over-the-counter pain medication, lozenges, and the like, and taking it easy until he feels better.

If a sore throat is due to a bacterial infection, your doctor may want to treat it with medication, usually antibiotics. If your child has strep throat or scarlet fever, it’s important to get it treated – and to finish the course of antibiotics – since left unchecked they can lead to rheumatic fever.

Because acute epiglottitis is a serious illness, it is treated with intravenous antibiotics.

If your child has had numerous serious throat infections (or has a stubborn one that won’t go away), your pediatrician might recommend a tonsillectomy, otherwise known as getting your tonsils out. This is usually an outpatient procedure, where your child will get to go home the day of surgery, and will take about two weeks to fully recuperate. Children generally seem to have less pain from a tonsillectomy than adults do, but expect 7 to 10 days of recovery, and have acetaminophen and ibuprofen on hand for pain relief.