Throat and upper respiratory tract infections are common conditions in childhood and most cases would resolve even without treatment. But have you noticed your child has a mouth odor that persists in spite of good oral hygiene? Also, have you noticed that such child is eating less solids and taking more liquids and would reject hot meals but embrace cold delicacies, like ice cream, fruit juices or yogurt?
Yes, your child may be having a sore throat and this can be associated with fever which may be as high as 39.C. Typically the mouth hurts on swallowing and sometimes the stomach may hurt and If you find out from your child’s school, everyone in the class may have had a runny nose or other family members may have had a cold.
There is also a possible connection between parents who have chronic tonsillitis or throat infections who chew/breakdown food for their children with their mouths!
You may also notice other symptoms, such as cough, runny nose, and sneezing as well as a rash. The neck area, around the jaw may have several enlarged, moderately tender lymph nodes and when the throat is examined, you may see as shown in the picture below, a bilaterally enlarged tonsil with white semisolid discharge (which is a major cause of mouth odor; halitosis) even in adults!
Your child may need to visit the hospital repeatedly for this same condition. The throat may also look like this picture below. This is called a Group A strep pharyngitis, however there are other diagnostic possibilities especially a viral infection. This often tend to include symptoms like an itchy red eyes, ear pain/discharge, a mild diarrhea and as said earlier, a rash.
In clinical practice, many patients per week presents with similar symptoms, and the huge majority of patients have either viral disease (which will self-resolve) or bacterial infection.
You must protect your child against dehydration (keep them hydrated) as they lose water through excessive breathing, or they may come with partially obstructed airway (is your child snoring unusually?) and for these reasons, a parent must act fast and decisively.
Taking your child to the hospital is important. A throat culture (Throat swab MCS) and a full blood count will help in diagnosing this condition as well as exclude other conditions.
Other home remedies involve steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil or a mild balm, improving diet with fruits especially those high in vitamin C (lemon, Pineapples, Orange), using an antipyretic if fever is high and you can’t get medical help quickly.
Beware of self-medication! Your child may be prone to allergic reactions with the antibiotics selected. Some recurrent infection may necessitate removal of the tonsils, otherwise, keep your child hydrated, tepid sponge if there is a fever and get to the hospital as soon as possible for optimal care.