Singer Jessica Simpson holds her sore throat before performing live on stage during the NBC ‘Today’ show. File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Is it sore throat or strep throat?

A sore throat is a common symptom of an upper respiratory infection such as a cold or flu. It’s also a symptom of a bacterial infection commonly referred to as strep throat. How can you tell if your child’s sore throat is caused by a viral or bacterial infection? Mayo Clinic family medicine specialist Dr. Tina Ardon helps make the distinction.

Your child complains of an itchy sore throat that hurts when he or she swallows. Most often, it’s a viral infection that will go away on its own. You can treat the symptoms, but there is no cure for a cold or flu virus.

“Antibiotics simply won’t work for a viral infection,” says Ardon.

If your child complains of throat pain without coughing, it may be a sign of a different upper respiratory illness.

“Strep throat or strep pharyngitis, the medical term for that, is a specific bacterial infection that can happen in the back of the throat.”

Telltale signs include tiny red spots on at the back of the roof of the mouth, or red and swollen tonsils —sometimes with white patches.

“Typically, if it’s strep throat, you’re only going to have symptoms related to the back of the throat: fever, maybe a headache and then the sore throat,” says Ardon.

Your health care provider can perform lab tests to confirm if it’s strep throat and offer antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection.

“If a child has other symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, it’s highly unlikely we’re dealing with strep throat.”

Plenty of rest and warm, soothing liquids will help. And make sure your child has been immunized with a flu vaccine.

Just Posted

Man who strangled wife, buried body in their Calgary home to stay in prison

BOWDEN, Alta. — A man who strangled his wife and cemented her… Continue reading

Next few weeks a test for Alberta-Ottawa relations, Jason Kenney says

OTTAWA — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney left a meeting with Prime Minister… Continue reading

Dangerous offender hearing stalled by paperwork mistake

Crown prosecutor wants man convicted of Christmas Day 2015 murder declared a dangerous offender

Palestinians in Bethlehem look beyond religious tourism

ML-Palestinians-Alternative-Bethlehem code:7 Update:Expands audience See Photos INDEX: Lifestyle, International, Travel HL:Palestinians in… Continue reading

Red Deer’s 2019 Christmas Lights Tour is the biggest yet

More neighbourhoods were added to the routes

Your community calendar

Friday The Annual Old-Fashioned Country Christmas is being held Dec. 13 at… Continue reading

Man who strangled wife, buried body in their Calgary home to stay in prison

BOWDEN, Alta. — A man who strangled his wife and cemented her… Continue reading

Next few weeks a test for Alberta-Ottawa relations, Jason Kenney says

OTTAWA — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney left a meeting with Prime Minister… Continue reading

Palestinians in Bethlehem look beyond religious tourism

ML-Palestinians-Alternative-Bethlehem code:7 Update:Expands audience See Photos INDEX: Lifestyle, International, Travel HL:Palestinians in… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP raise more than $12k during charity checkstop

Food donations will be made to Innisfail food bank

Ticket package prices released for 2021 World Juniors

Hockey Canada has announced ticket package prices for the 2021 World Juniors.… Continue reading

Enbridge declines to estimate Line 3 startup despite positive state ruling

CALGARY — The CEO of Enbridge Inc. says an updated environmental review… Continue reading

Opinion: Canada and Alberta need each other. Here’s why

As Jason Kenney and a third of his cabinet attempt to smother… Continue reading

Most Read