If there’s one thing you can count on with your child, it’s that they’ll have no small number of bumps, bruises, ear aches, and sore throats as they grow up, sometimes all in the same week. In fact, one-third of kids around the world will experience at least one sore throat each year.
At Advanced ENT & Allergy, Dr. Timothy Queen and Nancy Gibson, FNP-C, are specialists in pediatric ear, nose, and throat concerns, and there can be many.
If you feel that your child has more frequent, painful, or persistent sore throats than normal, here’s what might be behind the problem and why medical care is important.
Sore throats — a part of growing up
To determine whether your child’s sore throats are abnormal, let’s take a look at normal circumstances. Until 6, kids average about 6-8 colds a year, and these respiratory infections often include sore throats, stuffy noses, and coughs.
As your child’s vulnerability to colds wanes, other threats lurk, such as strep throat, which typically strikes kids around 7 or 8 and into adolescence. Strep throat is also a normal part of childhood and resolves fairly quickly with treatment.
So, you may be dealing with far more than one sore throat a year if your child tends to catch every infection that’s going around. If the sore throat clears with the other symptoms in a week or two, there’s usually no cause for concern.
When we’re concerned about sore throats
Given what we’ve discussed about the frequency with which your child is likely to encounter sore throats, it can leave you wondering when to be concerned. Here are some rules of thumb:
Sore throat with fever
If your child has a sore throat accompanied by a fever of 102-103F or higher, we urge you to come see us.
Painful sore throat
If your child’s sore throat is particularly painful, please come see us so we can find ways to ease their discomfort.
Sore throats outside of colds
If your child’s only complaint is a sore throat, and it happens frequently, we should get to the bottom of the problem. As a standalone, a sore throat could stem from sleep issues, allergies, or environmental toxins, to name a few examples.
Frequent sore throats
If you feel your child has more sore throat days than not, come see us so that we can check for other conditions, such as tonsillitis.
Your child’s developmental years are important, and we prefer that you err on the side of caution if your child has persistent sore throat problems. You know your child best, and you’re in a good position to spot when something isn’t right.
If you have more questions about frequent sore throats or want to schedule an appointment, please contact our office in Newport News, Virginia.