A throaty toddler is a ready recipe for trouble. And though a pain in the throat could be the result of just another viral infection, it could just as well be triggered by an array of bacterial causes, dry heat, air pollutants or just plain old teething. In this feature, we’ve covered a range of common throat problems that could be keeping your little tyke up at night.
Causes of Throat Problems in Kids
A viral infection such as measles, chickenpox or croup, can simultaneously manifest as a sore throat. The truth is, viral infections are the most common cause of sore throats in children and adults alike. Tonsillitis is another possibility that can cause an emergence of knobbly tissue towards the back of the throat; the condition can be spurred on by a virus or bacteria.
When it comes to bacterial causes, strep is the most common trigger for sore throats. That said, it usually doesn’t occur in infants. A bacterial infection that is more of a possibility is whooping cough.
Exposing your infant to cigarette smoke is one of the worst things you can do. Air pollutants, tobacco, loose dog or cat fur, pollen and dust can aggravate your child’s throat and lead to allergy symptoms akin to those of a cold.
Dry heat is notorious for making its way into a child’s open mouth and swallowing all the moisture inside. This can, in turn, make swallowing a challenge. Give your child a drink to alleviate the dryness.
Teething can increase your baby’s body temperature and also cause a sore throat. This is usually a passing phase. If you find that the condition persists, consult your paediatrician right away.
It can be daunting to deal with a baby with a hoarse cough and a runny nose. And often, it’s confusing to tread the fine line between managing on your own and reaching out to your doctor. Here are some scenarios that should warrant medical intervention. Keep your paediatrician on speed dial, nonetheless.
- Your child has ulcers or sores inside the mouth
- Your child’s throat is red, inflamed or speckled with pus
- Your child finds it difficult to swallow
- Your child’s breathing is heavy
- Your child demonstrates a reduced appetite, dehydration and excessive irritability
You may decide that your toddler’s sore throat is mild enough to handle on your own. After all, a sore throat is seldom a serious cause for concern. However, even a mild condition that lasts beyond a week calls for a visit to your paediatrician.
Treating Your Toddler’s Sore Throat
The good news is that most virus-induced throat problems don’t need any medication. Your toddler’s immune system is equipped to combat viruses on its own. Warm fluids and plentiful rest are all she needs. For bacterial infections, on the other hand, your doctor may administer a course of antibiotics. On your part as a mommy, you can treat your child to specific liveners made in your kitchen. Warm fluids like soups, purees and broths can be soothing for a sore throat. Keep your child hydrated to flush the infection out of her system. Moist air can also relieve a throat problem, so you may want to consider buying a light vapouriser or humidifier for your child’s bedroom. If your child exhibits a persistent sore throat, your doctor may suggest admitting her to the hospital where she can be administered medication intravenously.
Throaty troubles will be common occurrences in your child’s life as she grows. The best way to address them is to keep calm and soldier on.