When You Should Go to the Doctor for a Sore Throat

In Colorado’s dry air, a sore throat in the morning isn’t uncommon, especially in the winter when home heating makes air particularly dry. If your child wakes up with pain in her throat, have her drink water.

The American Society of Pediatrics recommends taking your child to the doctor if her sore throat doesn’t abate after a drink of water in the morning. Get care immediately if your child’s sore throat is accompanied by difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing or excessive drooling. These may signal much more severe health issues.

Adults don’t need to see a doctor about a painful throat unless it’s accompanied by a fever of more than 101 degrees, ear pain, joint pain or difficulty opening the mouth. See your doctor if you have frequently recurring sore throats, which may be a symptom of HIV.

Sore Throat Causes

There are many reasons your child may experience a sore throat, and many of them aren’t cause for concern. Commonplace causes of benign sore throats include:

Postnasal drip

Allergies or colds that cause nasal congestion may cause sore throats.


Dry air, particularly when breathing through the mouth, may cause soreness.

Voice strain

Excessive shouting can strain the muscles in the throat, causing pain.

Poor air quality

Chemicals, tobacco smoke and environmental smoke (from campfires or nearby forest fires can irritate throats.

Often sore throats are just part of a cold caused by a virus.  However, if your child’s sore throat is persistent, or your child is experiencing a fever, flu-like symptoms, or a stomach ache, they would benefit from seeing a provider.  If you have questions, call our nurse triage phone line at 970-267-6715.