V.V. asks from Spring, TX on May 16, 2011
Sore Throat - Spring,TX
When do you generally take you child into the doctor for a sore throat? Do you wait a few days to see if it goes away or take them right away? My six year old had a sore throat a few months ago. He came down with the sore throat on a Friday afternoon and had a fever over the weekend and started feeling better on Monday so I ddn't take him to the doctor. Then, later that same week he came down with impetigo and pink eye. His throat had cleared up, but the doctor said he may have had strep and gave him antibiotics to clear everything out of his system. I felt bad that I didn't take him to the doctor sooner if he did have strep, but it was the weekend and he is one to still play even when he feels sick. He just never seems to stop so it is hard to tell how bad he feels. So, today he wakes up and says his throat hurts. I looked down his throat with a flashlight and it doesn't appear red. He doesn't have a fever. I'll see how he does the rest of the day. (We homeschool). But, what is the general rule of thumb? When do you see the doctor?
So What Happened?™
Well, this time around it must have just been allergy related. He was fine by evening and never developed a fever. But, thanks for the tips for next time around.
D.B. answers from Boston on May 16, 2011
It sounds like he had a slight cold (with fever & sore throat) - when kids blow their noses and then rub their eyes, they can easily get conjunctivitis (pink eye). Very common. Usually the treatment for that is antibiotic ointment in the eye (usually erythromycin ophthalmic ointment).
I don't think you should feel badly - if your son wasn't miserable, you would have no reason to suspect strep.
However, if it's recurring, then it's probably worth a visit to the doctor. He could have tonsilitis without redness - it's hard to gauge the size of the tonsils without a lot of experience. Or he could be starting another bout of it. I wouldn't have taken him in the first time either - but the recurrence would make me more cautious.
G.M. answers from Phoenix on May 16, 2011
For me, if my little one gets a sore throat with 'no' fever...I take care of it here at home. If he gets a fever with it, that's when I take him in. But I would have done the same thing you did because your son's fever went away over the weekend.
Generally you get a sore throat from post nasal drip. If you look down his throat, check his tonsils and see if they are flarred up. If they are, they will look like two red sacs, one on each side of the back of his throat. That's usually a sign of strep throat.
But just so you know, you did nothing wrong. It is very hard to decide when to take your children to the doctor. My general rule of thumb for me, is, that whenever my kids are sick with a common cold I take care of here at home....unless a fever comes. Anything over 101 temp, I take them in. If my sons get a 101 temp and I can control it and bring it down with tylenol or motrin, then I wait to take them in. Unless I see that their little tonsils are swollen.
With my pediatrician, they have a website and on their website they have on there a list of signs of common colds, and they tell you when to bring your little one in to the doctor. It helps a lot too. Saves money. May be your pediatrician has something like that?
Right now, with your son having a sore throat, it is probably just post nasal drip. Benadryl will take care of that. Have him blow his nose too. Without a red throat, and no fever....I don't think a doctor is needed right now. :-D Just keep a check on him throughout the day. If his throat ends up red, and he starts to get a fever...then call your pediatrician for an appointment. I hope this helps. Hope he feels better today too.
K.O. answers from Austin on May 17, 2011
There are lots of natural options, for example the second my kids are coming down with a cold I give them ###-###-####mg of vitamin C right away and continue for a few days. They either don't get it or get a very mild one. Also there are zinc plus C lozenges made by Nature's plus called "animal parade" that are for kids but that work so great I take them. I try to stay away from antibiotics and clue in to what the body is saying instead. When kids get sick it can often be from an overload of unhealthy things, so I up the fresh raw fruit and veggies and whole grains and say goodbye to whiteflour and sugar. Good luck!
H.G. answers from Dallas on May 16, 2011
If my dd gets a fever of any kind it is nearly always strep. I tried to wait and see thing one time and I will never do that again. The strep made her very ill and I do not take any chances at all!
R.L. answers from Houston on May 18, 2011
My son often wakes up with a sore throat due to dryness or his allergies. If no fever or any other symptoms (aches etc.) I usually don't worry about it. If there is a fever I would call the doc. In your case though it sounds like he could have had a cold not necessarily strep that led to the other infections. We've had our share of pink eye and my ped advised it's usually due to complications from a cold. Sounds like you are doing the right things, no need to feel bad!
R.K. answers from Boston on May 16, 2011
My oldest does not complain of a sore throat 90% of the time with strep his biggest complaints are headache and stomach ache and he doesn't get the typical strep that looking throat. This time of the year if he said his throat hurt and had no fever my thought would be allergy related but that's my son. I'd say keep an eye on it and if starts with a fever call your dr and see what they say. the only illnesses that ever had him acting sick were h1n1 and Lyme.
J.T. answers from College Station on May 17, 2011
Usually, when they are running a fever with the sore throat is when I take them in. Please do not feel guilty and beat yourself up about not taking him in sooner. Most Drs. appreciate you waiting.