As anyone who has ever interacted with kids younger than talking-age can tell you, communication with babies and toddlers is kind of like communication with someone from another world. Little kids have quite a unique battle until they learn to talk. They have opinions and feelings, they feel pain, they get sick—basically, they undergo an almost-complete gamut of human sensation, but they are frustratingly unable to express it in words. That’s why we parents, caretakers, older siblings, or babysitters have to learn to “speak kid”—and that means we have to be able to recognize discomfort and know what needs to be done.
A Sore Throat
Sore throats are relatively common in babies and toddlers, simply because a sore throat can be part of so many illnesses. The first step is to recognize the signs. Does the baby seem to be uncomfortable? Does swallowing seem to cause pain, and does the cry sound scratchy? If so, then the child may be trying—in “kid language,” of course—to communicate to you that he or she has a sore throat. The next step is to have a little bit of knowledge about what can cause a sore throat: hay fever, airborne irritants, cold or flu, measles, chickenpox, whooping cough, and a whole host of other issues could be the culprit.
What to Consider
If you suspect that your baby or toddler has a sore throat, there are some key things to consider.
- Should I take the child to the doctor? For a sore throat that’s anything more than dry or mildly irritated, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor. Take a look at the child’s throat, and at his or her behavior. If you see obvious signs of infection in the throat like redness or swelling, or if you notice difficulty breathing, lifting the head, opening the mouth, head to the doctor’s office.
- Is it contagious? The contagiousness of a sore throat depends on the cause—but it’s generally safe to assume that the answer is yes. Make sure the infected child doesn’t pass on the germs to anyone else, especially other children, and be sure to make hand-washing a priority.
- How can I soothe the pain? After receiving treatment options from a doctor, the next question is usually how to ease the pain for now—and that isn’t as hard as it seems. For toddlers capable of eating solid food, a very warm or very cold drink is a good option. Babies will benefit from breast milk or formula given in frequent, smaller amounts, which will minimize discomfort and keep the child hydrated.
Looking for more information about sore throats in babies and toddlers? Searching for a reliable Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor? Contact us at (208) 336-4368 today!