ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

When It’s More Than Just a Sore Throat in Children

When children complain of mild to moderate pain in their throat, perhaps accompanied by difficulty in breathing and speaking, their previously noisy behavior can be reduced. Parents should look into these symptoms since these are the common symptoms of pharyngitis and tonsillitis. Both of these health issues are treatable but keeping them untreated can result in complications that parents shouldn’t risk.


Inflammation in the Throat Area


The throat, known as the pharynx in medical terms, can become inflected resulting in symptoms like redness, pain and swelling. This is known as pharyngitis.


The tonsils, in turn, are the pair of tissue masses located on either side of the throat. Just open your mouth in front of a mirror and you should see two small ball-like protrusions at the back of your throat.


These tissue masses are part of the immune system and, thus, are important in fighting off infections. When these become infected, known as tonsillitis, the immune system’s capacity to fight off infections can be compromised.


While pharyngitis and tonsillitis can occur independently, children can also get both and it’s known as pharyngotonsillitis. In children, the symptoms can be more severe because of their as-yet fully developed immune system, not to mention that they are more likely to have less pain tolerance.


From Pathogens to Traumas


Pharyngitis can be caused by bacteria, fungi, and irritants, such as dust and cigarette smoke, as well as allergies, cancers, and injuries. It can also be caused by sinus infections and stomach acids lodged in the throat. Its most common cause, however, is viral infections.


Tonsillitis is usually caused by either a bacteria or virus.  But it can also be caused by the above mentioned triggers albeit to a less common degree.


Your child’s pediatrician will determine the primary cause of the pharyngitis, tonsillitis, or pharyngotonsillitis. This is important as the effectiveness of the treatment plan will largely depend on the correct identification of the underlying cause. For example, antibiotics will work best for infections caused by the strep bacteria.


The most important step that parents can do when their children complain of the symptoms outlined below is to bring them to their pediatricians. In most cases, a medical treatment plan is a must because of the complications associated with untreated infections in the throat.


Each child will have different symptoms but the most common are:


  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing, sometimes accompanied by pain
  • Enlarged neck glands
  • Change in voice particularly hoarseness
  • Headache
  • Earache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever or chills
  • Inflamed tonsils (i.e., red, swollen tonsils)
  • Tonsils can have whitish discharge


Within a few days after medications, such as with antibiotics, and home remedies, these symptoms can improve until the infection clears.  For more details of the ENT diseases, please consult your ENT doctor/ ENT specialist.



HK ENT Specialist

offering ENT services,

Hearing aids prescription,

Swallowing disorder assessment and treatment,

Head and Neck Oncology,

Sleep disordered breathing Management,

and Facial Plastic Surgery, etc.


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