A sore throat

​Soreness of the throat is typically a symptom of pharyngitis which may be caused by a virus or bacteria. In most cases, a sore throat is associated with a common respiratory tract infection caused by a virus (other symptoms include a runny or blocked nose, cough and fever).




  • fever and a sore throat without other respiratory tract symptoms (blocked or runny nose, cough, hoarse voice)
  • red throat with white coating on the tonsils
  • mandibular lymph nodes are enlarged and tender
  • headache
  • abdominal pain and vomiting


Pharyngitis may be caused by bacteria or a virus. A viral infection cannot be treated with drugs, but the symptoms can be alleviated by drinking hot or cold drinks and by taking antipyretics, analgesics or lozenges (not suitable for small children). If your child refuses to eat and drink because of the pain, they may have stomatitis in addition to a sore throat.

A bacterial infection is typically caused by streptococci and confirmed by a swab sample taken from the back of the throat and sent for rapid antigen testing or a bacterial culture. The disease is transmitted by direct contact and by droplet infection. Pharyngitis caused by bacteria is treated with antibiotics. The disease ceases to be contagious a couple of days after the first dose of antibiotics.



Mononucleosis (also known as glandular fever, kissing disease and mono) is a viral infection and contrary to common belief is usually caught in childhood, not as a teenager.


  • fever lasts typically for a week, but may last up to three weeks
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands in the neck
  • coatings in the pharynx
  • a rash
  • swelling around the eyes


Mononucleosis is diagnosed based on the symptoms and a blood test. The condition will pass without the need for medical treatment. However, you can give your child antipyretics and/or analgesics to relieve the symptoms.

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