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How do I treat my son's sore throat and cold?

Q: My 8 years old son is suffering from severe cold and sore throat. Can we give him salty water? What mode of treatment should be follow?

A:Sore throat and cold are symptoms of pharyngitis, an infection of the common passage to esophagus and trachea from mouth. Rarely, there may be laryngitis in infants with associated loss of voice, which is a serious complication. Ninety percent of the sore throats are caused by viral infections, and rarely due bacteria or fungus (thrush). Most cases of viral pharyngitis will settle down by itself within a few days. No antibiotics are routinely recommended. Over 20 non-antibiotic management have been reported in medical literature for its management. Of these analgesics are the most effective. Even antihistaminics however safe, are better avoided as they induce sleep and dry the mucous membranes. There are several home remedies tried and tested including antiseptic throat sprays, throat lozenges, mouth washes, warm saline gargles, warm tea, lemon tea, herbal tea, honey, drinking lot of fluids, cayenne pepper and yoghurt. But these are not advocated for infants especially those below 1 year of age. In general, I cannot recommend them as safe practices.

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