Viruses that cause colds cause most sore throats. Strep bacteria causes some sore throats. Your doctor may take a throat culture to find out if the sore throat is caused by a virus or strep.
Your older child can tell you if he has a sore throat. A younger child may have a sore throat if he cries when he eats. Or your child may not eat. Your child's tonsils may also be red and swollen.
If your child is over age 1, give warm chicken broth or apple juice.
Children over age 6 can suck on hard candy or lollipops to make the throat feel better. Children over age 8 can also gargle with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon of salt per glass).
If your child has a sore throat, some foods can be hard to swallow. Cold drinks and milkshakes are good. Do not give your child salty or spicy foods or citrus fruits.
Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for the sore throat or for a fever. No aspirin.