If your child complains of a sore throat during spring and summer, seasonal allergies might be at the root of the problem.
Did you know that seasonal allergies can produce a sore throat as well as a runny nose and sneezing? We examine the connection between postnasal drip and throat irritation in this article.
In children, sore throats can be due to a variety of illnesses. Is the scratchiness due to a cold or the flu? What about strep throat or the COVID-19 virus? As it turns out, an inflamed throat is sometimes caused by allergies. Read on to find out why allergies cause sore throats in children and how to relieve the discomfort.
Why do seasonal allergies cause a sore throat?
Allergies occur when the body sees a foreign substance (such as mould or pollen) as a threat, and the immune system responds by producing antibodies and histamine. This causes an inflammatory reaction that triggers sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and sinus pressure.
Allergy-prone children also suffer from increased mucus production in the nasal passages that drips down the back of the throat. This is known as “postnasal drip”. As mucus drips down the throat, it irritates the mucosa lining the throat, resulting in the sensation of a sore throat.
Good to know: Fever, chills, and gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting or diarrhoea) are not typical of seasonal allergies and may indicate a viral infection. If you don’t know what’s causing your child’s sore throat, call your paediatrician, who can determine whether your child’s sore throat is due to allergies or due to something else.
How to treat an allergy-related sore throat
If your child has an allergy-induced sore throat, you can treat it with over-the-counter pain relievers suitable for your child’s age. Antihistamines can treat the underlying cause of the painful throat, while steroid nasal sprays can also reduce the production of watery mucus.
Allergy-prone children should limit their exposure to the allergen as much as possible. Children who are allergic to pollen, for example, should not sleep with their bedroom windows open during pollen season, and they should shower before bedtime to eliminate as much pollen as possible.
If your child has severe or persistent allergy symptoms, consult a doctor, who will examine your child and review their symptoms and medical history to determine allergies. In some circumstances, the doctor will perform blood or skin tests to make a diagnosis, and they may prescribe prescription medicine or allergy shots as treatment.