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Pharyngitis In Children


Pharyngitis is swelling or infection of the tissues and structures in your child's pharynx (throat). It is also called sore throat.


Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child suddenly has trouble breathing or turns blue.
  • Your child has swelling or pain in his jaw.
  • Your child has voice changes, or it is hard to understand his speech.
  • Your child has a stiff neck.
  • Your child is urinating less than usual or has fewer diapers than usual.
  • Your child has increased weakness or fatigue.
  • Your child has pain on one side of his throat that is much worse than the other side.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has throat pain, trouble swallowing, fever, or other symptoms that are not getting better or are getting worse.
  • Your child has a rash on his body. He may also have reddish cheeks and a red, swollen tongue.
  • Your child has new ear pain, headaches, or pain around his eyes.
  • Your child pauses in his breathing when he sleeps.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your child's pharyngitis:

  • Have your child rest as much as possible.
  • Give your child plenty of liquids so he does not get dehydrated. Give him liquids that are easy to swallow and will soothe his throat.
  • Soothe your child's throat. If your child can gargle, give him ¼ of a teaspoon of salt mixed with 1 cup of warm water to gargle. If your child is 12 years or older, give him throat lozenges to help decrease his throat pain.
  • Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for your child to breathe and help decrease his cough.

Help prevent the spread of pharyngitis:

Wash your hands and your child's hands often. Keep your child away from other people while he is still contagious. Ask your child's healthcare provider how long your child is contagious. Do not let your child share food or drinks. Do not let your child share toys or pacifiers. Wash these items with soap and hot water.

When to return to school or daycare:

Your child may return to daycare or school when his symptoms go away.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.