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February 17, 2017

How to soothe the pain of a sore throat

With kids in school it seems like something is always going around.

If you hear the ominous, "my throat hurts," there are a few easy ways to make sure a sore throat doesn't keep your kids down for too long.

Pain relief

There are a few ways to help ease the discomfort of a sore throat:

  • Sip warm liquids — like a tea or broth

  • Gargle with ¼ teaspoon salt in 1 cup warm water (if your kids are old enough and coordinated enough to gargle)

  • Eat cold or frozen liquids, like ice pops

  • Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen as needed

What if it's strep?

Strep throat can spread easily, so if it has been going around the classroom, there's a chance your child's sore throat may be strep. But keep in mind while a sore throat can be a sign of strep throat, having a sore throat does not always mean it is strep. There are a few tell-tale signs to look out for:

  • Sudden sore throat

  • Severe throat pain

  • Red and white patches in the throat

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Tender or swollen glands in the neck

  • Fever

  • Headache

If there's a runny nose, cough or red eyes, chances are it's a virus but not strep. The only way to know for sure is by having a strep test. Often, doctors will run a rapid stress test that returns results quickly. Even if that comes back negative, there is still a chance that strep may be present. If your child tests positive, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antibiotic. And, as with all colds and viruses — the best prevention is to wash hands frequently, avoid sharing utensils or drinking from the same containers, and cover coughs and sneezes.