"Antibiotics simply won't work for a viral infection," Ardon says.
If your child complains of throat pain without coughing, it may be a sign of a different upper respiratory illness.
"Strep throat or strep pharyngitis, the medical term for that, is a specific bacterial infection that can happen in the back of the throat."
Telltale signs include tiny red spots on at the back of the roof of the mouth, or red and swollen tonsils — sometimes with white patches.
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"Typically, if it's strep throat, you're only going to have symptoms related to the back of the throat: fever, maybe a headache and then the sore throat," Ardon says.
Your health care provider can perform lab tests to confirm if it's strep throat and offer antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection.
"If a child has other symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, it's highly unlikely we're dealing with strep throat," Ardon says.
Plenty of rest and warm, soothing liquids will help. And make sure your child has been immunized with a flu vaccine.