Sore throats are common in children and can be painful. However, a sore throat that is caused by a virus does not need antibiotics. In those cases, no specific medicine is required, and your child should get better in seven to ten days. In other cases, a sore throat could be caused by an infection called streptococcal (strep throat).

Streptococcal cannot be accurately diagnosed by simply looking at the throat. A lab test or in-office rapid strep test, which includes a quick swab of the throat, is necessary to confirm the diagnosis of strep. If positive for strep, your pediatrician will prescribe an antibiotic. It’s very important that your child take the antibiotic for the full course, as prescribed, even if the symptoms get better or go away. Steroid medicines (such as prednisone) are not an appropriate treatment for most cases of sore throat.

Babies and toddlers rarely get strep throat, but they are more likely to become infected by streptococcus bacteria if they are in childcare or if an older sibling has the illness. Although strep spreads mainly through coughs and sneezes, your child can also get it by touching a toy that an infected child has played with.

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics