Sore Throat Or Throat Infection In Babies - Causes, Symptoms & Remedies

Throat Infection In Babies

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A sore throat or throat infection is a major irritant for your baby as it affects her daily routine, hits her regular intake of food, and makes her feel uneasy.

Various factors make your child susceptible to the problem. MomJunction helps you understand the causes of sore throat or throat infection in babies and the ways you can overcome it. Read on to know.

What is Throat Infection In Babies?

A throat infection or a sore throat refers to any discomfort or pain in that body part. The pain is usually due to inflammation. A sore throat is a sign of viral infection such as a cold or flu. But it can also occur due to bacterial infections. [1]


Throat infections are quite common in kids of all ages. However, instances of a sore throat in babies are fewer compared with toddlers and older children. [2] [3] The ailment can be caused due to:

  • Common cold
  • Mononucleosis (mono or the kissing disease) causes a persistent throat infection.
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Croup is an infection of the upper respiratory organs while severe cases can be due to a bacterial infection. Most often a viral infection, it can cause a cough and cold, which can lead to a sore throat in babies. Croup is very common among infants and toddlers. [4]

[ Read: Croup Disease In Babies ]

  • Measles, chicken pox, mumps
  • Tonsillitis, which is usually caused by a viral infection (less often a bacterial infection), results in inflammation of the tonsil and sore throat is a symptom. [5]

[ Read: Tonsillitis In Babies ]

  • Strep throat is caused by bacterium group A streptococcus. It is uncommon in infants and babies but often seen in toddlers and older kids.
  • A whooping cough is an infection of the respiratory tract.
  • Diphtheria is a bacterial infection affecting the nose and throat; sore throat is a symptom. [6]
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease is a rare cause of a sore throat in infant and babies (caused by Coxsackie virus). [7]

Other causes:

  • Irritants such as tobacco smoke, vehicular emissions, and other air pollutants.
  • Allergies from dust, mold, pollen, etc.
  • Dry air due to low humidity.


Symptoms of sore throat in babies can vary depending on the cause and the severity of the condition. Take your child to a doctor if her symptoms last for more than a day. [8] [9]

The usual symptoms of a sore throat in children are:

  • Scratchy cry, nonstop crying
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Loss of appetite (could be due to fever or pain while swallowing)
  • Increased sleeplessness
  • Fussiness, irritability
  • Fever
  • Redness inside the throat
  • Runny nose
  • Rash (in rare cases)

Your baby will need immediate medical attention if she experiences any of following symptoms:

  • Labored breathing, difficulty in breathing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty in swallowing for more than a day


Your baby’s doctor can diagnose a throat infection based on her symptoms. But if the doctor suspects strep throat or a severe bacterial infection, some tests may be necessary.

For diphtheria or strep throat, the doctor may take a throat culture using a swab from the back of your baby’s throat. For tonsillitis, the medic may inspect her tonsils from outside to check for swelling. [10]


  • Treatment for your baby sore throat depends on her symptoms. Avoid giving your baby over-the-counter medicines without her doctor’s approval.
  • The doctor may prescribe your baby a pain reliever such as ibuprofen to ease her symptoms.
  • In case her sore throat is due to a bacterial infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics for your baby. For instance, in case your baby has sore throat due to diphtheria, she may receive an antibiotic treatment for the same.

[ Read: Remedies To Treat Cold In Babies ]

  • As her symptoms improve, her throat infection will also clear away. Your child may begin to show signs of improvement in a day or two once she begins her antibiotics course. It is crucial that you give your child her entire course of antibiotics even if her symptoms improve in a day or two. Such a practice can cause the infection to return. [11] [12] [13]
  • If your baby has croup and her symptoms persist for more than three days, she may receive treatment in the form of antibiotics or steroid medicines. In severe cases, your baby may need hospitalization. [14]

Other Remedies:

  • You can help ease your baby’s sore throat discomfort by employing some simple remedies. Most doctors recommend treatment steps that you can practice at home.
  • Moist air can be very beneficial to provide your baby some relief from a sore throat. A bathroom full of steam or gentle and cool evening air may be ideal in case she has croup. But take these steps only after the approval of your baby’s doctor. [15]
  • Using a humidifier in your baby’s room can also provide her relief from a throat infection. Ask her doctor for recommendations. [16]
  • Try to give your baby extra fluids to drink. Water and soothing liquids like warm water and lemon can help baby with a sore throat. [17] Honey is often used in sore throat treatments. But avoid giving it to infants under a year old as they can’t yet digest a spore found in honey and it can be harmful to them. [18]
  • When your baby has a sore throat, she can find it difficult to swallow her food. She may also feel pain when eating her food. For her nourishment during a throat infection, you can offer her soft or easy-to-swallow foods like a mashed banana, apple sauce, yogurt, and soup. [19]

[ Read: Home Remedies For Cough In Babies ]


  • Cold infections primarily spread through infected air particles. Therefore, try to protect your baby from contamination that can cause throat infection in her. [20]
  • Wash your hands before you handle your infant. This is especially important when you or anyone else at home has a cold or respiratory infection. Also, wash your hands when you come home from outside.
  • Refrain from exposing your baby to people who have an infection. Keep people with infection out of your baby’s room.
  • Keep your house free of smoke and other air pollutants.
  • It is not always possible for you to shield your baby from germs. But with some care, your baby’s throat infection can clear away in no time.

How do you handle your child’s sore throat problem? Are they frequent or do you avoid such situations at home? Write to us on your ways to deal with this irritant.

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