Sore throats in children
If your child has a sore throat, here are some tips to help you keep them looked after and safe.
Sore throats are very common in children. Most are caused by viruses like colds, are not serious and will clear up very quickly on their own. If your child has a sore throat and/or a cold, give them plenty to drink and let them have suitable pain relief if they need it. Your local pharmacy can offer advice and will stock a range of medicines to help your child feel better.
Children can sometimes develop a bacterial infection as well, and this can make them more poorly. These infections will usually need treating more carefully and may need antibiotics, so please trust your own judgement as a parent, family member or carer if you are worried.
Contact NHS 111 or your GP if:
- your child is getting worse
- your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
- your child is showing signs of dehydration – dry mouth, sunken eyes, feeling thirsty, peeing less than usual/their pee is darker and smells strongly – and for babies, if they have a dry nappy for 12 hours or more
- your child is very tired or irritable
- your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38°C, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39°C or higher
- your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
Call 999 or go to A&E if:
- your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs
- there are pauses when your child breathes
- your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
- your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake
More information about scarlet fever and strep A infections
You can find more information about a wide range of health conditions and medicines on the NHS website and specific information about scarlet fever and strep A infections on the UK Health Security Agency website.
More information about childhood illnesses and injuries
The Healthier Together website for Hertfordshire and West Essex has a dedicated section with information on a range of childhood illnesses and injuries.
Lister Hospital – Emergency department
The new and improved children’s emergency department at Lister Hospital opened on 19 October 2022 after refurbishment and extension works.
The dedicated 24-hour specialist children’s emergency department is open every day of the week and includes:
- Increased bed and waiting room capacity within the Children’s Emergency Department
- A new parents’ room to support family wellbeing and breast-feeding individuals
To access the new children’s emergency department at Lister Hospital, please enter through the main emergency department entrance by Gate 4 and follow the red footprints on the floor to the new children’s emergency department.
Our urgent treatment centre will close at 10pm, and reopen at 8am every morning. Patients already in the UTC being treated, or waiting to be treated, at 10pm will continue to be cared for appropriately. No appointment is necessary.
View our patient leaflets for more information, such as wound care advice and bites and stings.
If you’re feeling unwell and don’t know what to do, phone NHS 111. These phone and web-based services are open all day, every day.
For minor injuries and minor illness:
- Our urgent treatment centre (UTC) at the New QEII Hospital, in Welwyn Garden City treats children aged 1 year and above
- The UTC treats minor illness, muscle and joint injuries, such as sprains; bites, stings, cuts, bruises and grazes; burns and scalds; objects stuck in ears or noses and minor eye injuries. We can x-ray if your child/young person has an injury to a limb
- The UTC opens at 8am every morning, and closes at 10pm. Patients already in the UTC being treated, or waiting to be treated, at 10pm will continue to be cared for appropriately. No appointment is necessary
- If you think your child urgently needs to see a GP outside of these hours, please call NHS 111
- If your child is feeling unwell and you don’t know what to do, phone NHS 111. These phone and web-based services are open all day, every day