Pharyngitis is the medical term for a sore throat. Sore throats in kids can be either viral or bacterial, and are one of the most common reasons that people take their children to see a pediatrician. Sore throats are often a side effect of another illness, such as the common cold, flu, or mononucleosis. If can also be caused by the bacteria streptococcus, leading to what is commonly known as strep throat. Viral pharyngitis is rarely serious, and will often go away on its own. Strep throat will require antibiotics, which usually work quickly and well.
Viral Sore Throat
The most common causes of viral pharyngitis are cold and flu viruses. The best way to deal with this type of viral pharyngitis is to treat your child’s symptoms. Over-the-counter pain relief and symptom relief medications can be used, but there is, unfortunately, no way to treat this kind of viral pharyngitis other than allowing the virus to run its course. It is important that the child rests in order to recover promptly and in good health.
Bacterial Sore Throat
Bacterial pharyngitis is most often caused by the streptococcus bacteria, more commonly known as strep. If your child is diagnosed with strep throat, your expert physician at Pediatric ENT Associates in Birmingham, Alabama will prescribe a course of antibiotics to combat the illness. Although symptoms may disappear relatively quickly, it is important to make sure your child takes the entire course in order to prevent a return of the bacteria, which in some cases can be worse than the original illness.
For more information on pharyngitis treatment, visit medlineplus.gov.
Other Types of Sore Throat
While cold, flu, mono, and strep are the most common causes of pharyngitis, there are other conditions which may also lead to a sore throat. These include measles, chicken pox, croup, and whooping cough. If your pediatrician suspects your child may have one of these conditions, he or she will most likely order blood work in order to determine the root cause. If your child does have one of these illnesses, the appropriate medications and treatments will be prescribed for them.
Diagnosing Sore Throat in Children
The important thing when diagnosing pharyngitis is to determine what underlying illness is causing it. Our physicians at Pediatric ENT Associates in Birmingham, Alabama are able to do a throat swab right in the office in order to take a culture and see if your child has strep throat. If your child has pharyngitis, appropriate antibiotics will be prescribed. If not, the symptoms will be evaluated and further tests will be ordered as necessary. In some cases, a wait-and-see approach is the most practical, as many viral infections clear up on their own.
Treatment and Prevention for Pharyngitis
Most often, antibiotics or over-the-counter medications are enough to manage a sore throat. In the case of chronic sore throats, further action such as tonsillectomy may be recommended. This will be at the discretion of your pediatric ENT specialist in Birmingham, Alabama, and will be thoroughly discussed with you and your child beforehand.
Pharyngitis is most common in the colder months during fall and winter. It is important to practice good hygiene all year round, but especially in the fall and winter, it is a good idea to be extra cautious. Make sure both you and your child wash your hands often, and try to avoid being around sick people too much. Tell your child not to share food or drinks with anyone at school or daycare, as this is a good way to pass germs.
Schedule an Appointment with Pediatric ENT Associates
If your child is suffering from a sore throat, contact Pediatric ENT Associates in Birmingham, Alabama for a diagnosis and advice for treating pharyngitis. Call us at (205) 831-0101 to schedule an appointment for pharyngitis treatment today.
Next, read about Airway Obstruction.