Coughs and sore throats are two of the most common childhood complaints. So it’s likely that your child will get one, the other or both at some point in their young life.
What is a cough/sore throat?
A cough is a sign that nerves in the pharynx (upper throat), larynx (throat), trachea (main breathing tube) or large bronchi (breathing tubes in the lungs) are irritated.
A sore throat (also known as pharyngitis) is visible as inflammation or redness of the tissues. The main parts of the throat that are usually affected are the back of the throat, the tonsils or the larynx (the part of the throat that contains the vocal cords).
What causes coughs/sore throats?
A cough is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection like a cold or flu. But it can be the sign of something more serious, like croup, bronchiolitis, whooping cough, and pneumonia – so it’s important to get it checked out if you’re worried. Other reasons for coughs developing include asthma, allergies, gastro-oesophageal reflux or cystic fibrosis.
Sore throats can be caused by tonsillitis and other viral illnesses, such as chicken pox, measles and mumps.
What are the symptoms of a cough/sore throat?
Different types of cough have different types of symptoms:
• Viral croup causes a barking cough, with rapid and harsh breathing
• A whooping cough is a ‘whooping’ noise as the child draws in breath
• Asthmatic coughs are often worse at night or when it’s cold
• Cold and flu coughs usually come with a stuffy, runny nose
You’ll know if it’s a sore throat because:
• You child will cry or complain when swallowing
• They might drool
• You’ll usually be able to see or feel swollen glands in the neck
Treating coughs and sore throats
• Give plenty of cold drinks and food (ice cream and jelly can help)
• Try humidifying the room to help breathing (by placing a wet towel in front of the radiator)
• Medicine such as Nurofen for Children can also help soothe the pains of colds, flu and sore throats
• For older children you could use Strepsils throat lozenges
For more information please contact your local GP.