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When Does Your Child's Sore Throat Warrant a Trip to Urgent Care?

Children and colds go hand in hand — kids suffer through as many as 12 colds a year if they’re in school and 6-10 even if they’re at home. And along with the coughing and congestion, sore throats are often part of the overall miserable package. While colds generally run their courses without incident, clearing up with in a few days to a week, there are times when a sore throat can present a bigger problem that needs medical care.

At Forest Urgent Care, our team of trained healthcare providers is on hand for those times when you need medical help sooner rather than later. From pediatric services to geriatric care, the team ensures that the communities of Forest Hills and Hunters Point, Long Island City, New York, have superior urgent healthcare for sore throats and other pressing health concerns.

But determining whether you need urgent care can be a gray area, which is why we’ve pulled together the following information on sore throats in children.

Recognizing strep throat

A sore throat that comes on gradually with a cold or a flu is normal, but a sore throat that develops suddenly and features red spots or white bumps at the back of your child’s mouth is likely strep throat, which is an infection caused by streptococcus bacteria. Your child may also have a fever, nausea and vomiting, and a headache.

This type of sore throat is contagious, and we recommend that you seek our help at the first signs of strep throat so we can put your child on the appropriate antibiotics and prevent other children from becoming infected.

Left untreated, strep throat can lead to more serious conditions, such as rheumatic fever.

A trip to urgent care is needed for …   

Strep throat isn’t the only type of sore throat that can be problematic. It’s a good idea to come in if you think any of the following scenarios is at play:

An abscess

Another cause for a sore throat is an abscess behind your child’s tonsils or at the back of their throat. Signs of this development include swelling, redness, and stiffness in their neck. This infection requires prompt care to clear it up and prevent the infection from spreading and causing more serious problems.

Digestive issues

If your child is experiencing a sore throat without any other cold- or flu-like symptoms, but they are experiencing abdominal discomfort, the problem could be related to digestive issues. Aside from gastrointestinal upset, the real danger is ingestion. Kids are known for putting things in their mouths, and if they’ve ingested a poison or they have an object that’s lodged in their esophagus, a sore throat is one of the telltale symptoms.


Allergies can also lead to symptoms that include a sore throat. If your child complains of a scratchy throat, especially during times when pollen counts are high, it may be worth figuring out whether allergies are at play.

Please come in immediately when…

While we’ve outlined some of the more common culprits when it comes to sore throats that need medical care, any sore throat that’s accompanied by the following is one that needs prompt treatment:

These are serious symptoms that warrant immediate attention at our clinic.If your child’ sore throat meets any of the above criteria, or you’re simply unsure, our doors are open for walk-in visits. Call one of the offices or click the “request appointment” button. Or you can call ahead for instructions.

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