Most sore throats are caused by viral infections. There is one bacteria, streptococcus pyogenes or “strep”, that will cause a sore throat with classic symptoms of a very red throat, swollen tonsils with or without pus, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and fever.
If your child is complaining of a sore throat, especially when accompanied by nasal congestion or cough and without fever, it is less likely to be “strep”. It is reasonable to wait at least 48 hours before making an appointment since viral sore throats usually resolve within a few days (though sometimes followed by persistent cold symptoms). If you are concerned that your child is becoming dehydrated because he/she is not drinking, please call for an appointment.
If your child has a sore throat and fever ONLY, we are happy to see them sooner to be certain that they don’t have a “strep throat”. This is one of the very few throat infections that will respond to an antibiotic.
Viral throat infections will respond to rest, fluids and pain control. Cold, no-acidic fluids are frequently well tolerated (try a smoothie!). Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may also enable more fluid intake by lessening the pain and/or fever.