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Sore throats and colds in children

Sore throat is a common symptom in children. Often this is due to colds. In case of high fever, sore throat, difficult to swallow and no cough or sniff, you can suspect tonsillitis. In case of sore throat without fever, sniffing or coughing or any other symptoms, there is rarely any disease behind it.

The course of the cold

Most colds follow one and the same pattern over time. First you get a sore throat, then you get sniffing, coughing and sneezing. The fever often comes on the second-third day. The sore throat sits for a few days, while the mucus, which is first transparent and then more and more colored, lasts for a week. The cough can last for up to three to four weeks after each cold.

Children of preschool age have on average between 6 and 10 colds per year. In 9 out of 10 cases, the child is able to fight the cold himself. As a parent, you mostly need to think about giving your child love and relaxation. Give the child pain relief if it seems to be in pain, clean the baby's nose and give nasal drops (type nezeril) if the nasal congestion is difficult. If you want, you can give 1-2 teaspoons of honey (to children over a year) for the evening against cough.

Read more about colds in infants and how to take care of them here

Read more about cough here

Read more about children who are often sick here

Should I go to the ER?

No. Not if the baby can breathe and eat. No one at the ER can help you with anything for your child that you can't do at home. At the ER, it is teeming with gastrointestinal virus and more cold viruses, so the risk is quite high that you go home with more viruses than you came with. Cough medicine on prescription has no proven effect. There are no medicines to help prevent colds.

Read more about cough medicine here

In addition, the ER is not a child-friendly place. At the ER, the child is allowed to sit in a waiting room among other coughing, vomiting children. Often with a scary TV with children's programs in the background and doubtless dirty toys on the floor.

If your child has difficulty breathing even when the nose is clear and you do not have inhalations that work well enough at home, it is a good idea to go to the paediatric emergency room or child competent care center, then the child may need inhalations.

Read more and watch videos on when children have difficulty breathing here

Read more about cold asthma here

If the child has a fever and is under three months, or is lethargic and feeling unwell, you may need to go to the ER. But in case of a fever in a cold child over three months who feels pretty good between the fever spikes, you can stay home.

Read more about fever in children here. 

Should I go to the health center with a child with a cold?

In a cold without complications, there is nothing that a health care doctor can do for your child either. If the child has suspected tonsillitis, ear inflammation or pneumonia, it may be appropriate to seek medical attention.


Some colds are complicated by ear inflammation. It can be noted that the fever does not go away after a few days. Or the children have pain in the ear and are whining. Sometimes the eardrum bursts and it runs out of the ear.

If the child has suspected ear inflammation, give pain relief, let the child sleep with raised head end, and got to the health centre.

Read about pain relief with Alvedon and Ipren here

Read more about ear inflammation here

But then tonsillitis?

Tonsillitis, or streptococcal infection in the throat, is characterized by the child having high fever (almost always above 38.5 degrees) and sore throat, it hurts every time the child swallows. No coughing, no sniffing, no sneezing. In the surrounding area there are often others who are sick with streptococcal infections, with tonsillitis or sore throats or swine, or scarlet fever.

Read more about tonsillitis and glandular fever here

If it is the case for your child, you are right to go to the health centre with the child. There, the doctor should take a quick test for streptococci with a stick in the throat and prescribe Kåvepenin for ten days if it is positive. In adults, it has been established that antibiotic therapy reduces the risk of quinsy. Quinsy is uncommon in children and there are no safe studies on whether the risk of quinsy decreases in antibiotic treatment of tonsillitis in children. It seems that antibiotic treatment reduces the risk of spreading infection within the family.

It's a stupid idea to offer the better tasting Amimox when you think someone has tonsillitis. Sometimes the throat infection is caused by EBV virus instead and is called glandular fever. If you give Amimox to someone who has glandular fever, there is a risk that that person will get terrible itchy, measles-like rashes all over his body.

Read more about penicillin for children here

Isn't it safest to take streptococcal samples even if the child coughs and sneezes?

No, it really isn't. Between 5 and 25 out of 100 children have streptococci in their throats even when healthy. Of course, they also have it when they are cold and then the streptococcus test shows positive. There has been no beneficial effect of treating this with antibiotics (for example Kåvepenin) except in cases where the infection goes around the family and some family member gets tonsillitis again and again.

But then CRP?

CRP is a protein that the body produces to fight inflammation. In the case of high fever caused by bacteria, CRP is often significantly increased after 24 hours. In fever spikes, CRP is usually low. If your child has a typical cold, I cannot see that CRP adds anything positive, however it does mean a prick in the finger that hurts. If the child has suspected throat flux, CRP also does not add anything at all, as the antibiotic treatment is determined by the result of the streptococcus test (which is taken with a stick in the throat - really inconvenient!).

Sure I use CRP sometimes, but only if I wonder if there may be a bacterial infection that causes the fever. It may be good to know that ear infections usually do not produce increased CRP even though they are bacterial. If the doctor or nurse at the emergency room or health centre wants to do a blood test on your child: ask why. Will the answer determine how the doctor interprets your child's infection, what advice or what treatment the child receives then it is reasonable. But if it is done more or less as a precaution, your child can be saved the pain.

In summary:

Colds in children are best cared for at home by their parent. Relaxation and love, painkillers and hot or cold drinks, what the child likes best. Free access to ice cream! Children who do not cough, sneeze or are snotty, but have a sore throat and more than 38.5 degrees of fever may have tonsillitis. Go to the health centre for a streptococcus test, antibiotics are recommended if positive.

Read more:

Baby with a cold - snotty and stuffy in the nose - how to help?

Cough in children - dry cough, mucus or cough, and does honey help cough?

How often can a child be sick without a fault?

Cough medicine for children - mollipect, cocillana or lepheton?

Ear inflammation (otitis) or ear pain in children - symptoms and treatment

Streptococci in children - tonsillitis, strep throat, cradle cap and scarlet fever

Penicillin or antibiotics for children, Phenoxymethylpenicillin, heracillin or amimox?

Alvedon and Ipren for children - dosage for pain and fever reduction

12 thoughts on “Ont i halsen och förkylning hos barn”

  1. Hey!
    I have my girl who is 7 months old who seems to have a sore throat, she does not cough often but she is hoarse in the voice and whines very much as she is very calm otherwise. What can I do? How should I best help her?

    1. If she eats and doesn't have a fever, I think you should hug her a lot and do things she likes and calm down. You can try giving her Alvedon and see if she seems to feel better about it.

      Babies who whine about the giant can sometimes have ear pain and it can sometimes be due to ear inflammation. So if she continues to be in pain you can go to the health center tomorrow so they can look in your ear.

  2. Hey! How common is it that children <2 years of age get throat flux? After all, they can't always tell that they have a sore throat.

    MVH Hanna

    1. It is more common for them to have streptococcal infections in sore nostrils or cuticles than regular throat flux. A small child who gets sore throats becomes sad, difficult to eat and stops eating and is difficult to get a drink. This, in combination with high fever, should lead to the search for a health center or child actuary.

    2. Hey, how common is it for an infant to have streptococci? And how do you notice they got it if the streptococci sit in nostrils and cuticles? Do they get a fever?
      Thanks in advance!
      Worried mom

    3. Fever sometimes. Sore and angry red in the nostrils, angry red, inflamed cuticles. If you have streptococci in the family and the child is showing these symptoms then you probably need them also penis penis…

  3. Hey! How surprised I am to enter your blog. I thought I recognized you. We were in with our 10-month-old daughter at the nursery on Monday and had the pelvic penis printed by you for ear inflammation. Unfortunately it did not help at all and we were at the health center today and her ears are not good at all so the doctor prescribed amimox. Now I have googled this medicine as a lunatic and come to an incredible number of forums and blogs where parents write about rashes that came about two days AFTER completed amimox treatment. This has often been ignored by doctors as it is considered impossible to have an allergic reaction or side effect two days after stopping the medication. What do you think about that? Of course I'm dying to worry that our little baby will have a reaction and if she gets it what should I do then? Should I go to the emergency room? We are going to Poland on holiday on Monday and I am not sure where to turn if our daughter should get such a reaction there. Many questions but I hope you have some time left for us. Have a good time and thank you for the nice help we got from you at the nursery.


    1. Hey! It is not uncommon to get rashes from Amimox. However, these are rarely signs of an allergic reaction and thus usually not dangerous. If your child gets spotty but feels perfectly fine, you can photograph the dots and wait at home. View the photo for the doctor next time Amimox is up to date so the doctor can decide if it is a good idea to get it again or not.

      If the child becomes spotty and at the same time very worried, vomits or gets difficult to breathe, it is time to go to Barnakuten. Also in Poland. Ask at the hotel where you live, or with whom you now live, if it becomes relevant, they usually know.

      Hope your child soon gets better and have a wonderful holiday!

  4. Is it common for cold children who have never had nosebleeds and who have not received nasal spray, to get very runny nosebleeds during a cold? I have two sons who have both had the same symptoms.

    1. It is not uncommon for children to bleed nosebleeds when they are cold. The poor little blood vessels in the nose are not enough for snoring crows and whining.

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