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Sore Throat - description

Sore throat or pain with swallowing is a common presenting complaint in the pediatric population. The majority of cases have an infectious etiology, with viral causes being the most common.

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Sore Throat Symptoms

Recognizing any other symptoms that your child has can also help you determine what might be causing your child's sore throat. For example, with strep throat, children will often have classic symptoms that can include:
  • fever
  • sore throat (pain on swallowing)
  • red tonsils that might have a thick white exudate (pus) on them
  • swollen lymph nodes (glands) that can be tender
  • the sandpaper like rash of scarlet fever
  • other associated symptoms, like a headache, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting

On the other hand, children who have a virus that is causing their sore throat will often have a cough, diarrhea, pink eye, mouth ulcers, hoarse voice or runny nose.

Understanding Sore Throats

It can help to uncover what might be causing your child's sore throat if you first understand some of the medical terms related to sore throats, including:
  • Tonsillitis - an inflammation or infection of the tonsils, which can be caused by strep and many viral infections. So while strep throat is a form of tonsillitis, so is mono and other viral infections.
  • Pharyngitis - an inflammation or infection of the pharynx, the area of the mouth near the tonsils. While most people use the terms tonsillitis and pharyngitis to mean the same thing, with pharyngitis, the inflammation isn't limited to the tonsils. Like tonsillitis, both strep and viruses can cause pharyngitis.
  • Post-nasal drip - drainage down the back of your throat from a cold, sinus infection, or allergies and which can cause a sore throat without tonsillitis or pharyngitis.

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