Preparing for your appointment

If you or your child has a sore throat, make an appointment with your family doctor or your child's pediatrician. In some cases, you may be referred to a specialist in ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders or an allergy specialist (allergist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Make a list of:

  • Symptoms you or your child has, and for how long
  • Key personal information, such as recent contact with someone who was ill
  • All medications, vitamins or other supplements you or your child takes, including doses
  • Questions to ask the doctor.

For a sore throat, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's likely causing these symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes?
  • What tests are needed?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • How soon do you expect symptoms to improve with treatment?
  • How long will this be contagious? When is it safe to return to school or work?
  • What self-care steps might help?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask questions about you or your child. Your doctor might ask:

  • Are there symptoms other than a sore throat?
  • Have these symptoms included a fever? How high?
  • Has there been difficulty breathing?
  • Does anything worsen the sore throat, such as swallowing?
  • Does anything seem to make the symptoms better?
  • Has anyone else at home been ill?
  • Is a sore throat a recurring problem?
  • Do you smoke? Are you or your child regularly exposed to secondhand smoke?
April 27, 2016
  1. Sore throats. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
  2. Sore throat. Merck Manual Professional Version.,-nose,-and-throat-disorders/approach-to-the-patient-with-nasal-and-pharyngeal-symptoms/sore-throat. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
  3. Wald ER. Approach to diagnosis of acute infectious pharyngitis in children and adolescents. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
  4. Sore throat. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
  5. Druta, JE. Sore throat in children and adolescents: Symptomatic treatment. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
  6. Stead W. Symptomatic treatment of acute pharyngitis in adults. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
  7. Huang Y, et al. Chinese medicinal herbs for sore throat. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Accessed Feb. 22, 2016.
  8. Taking care of your voice. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Accessed Feb. 24, 2016.