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Parents always try to be cautious and protect their child from getting sick but that is not always possible in spite of their best efforts. They have to resort to medicines to cure their little ones. Sore throat is one malady that strikes many children. The throat becomes red and swollen, is painful and eating and drinking become difficult.

Throat lozenges are useful in soothing the inflamed throat but they should not be given to children who are less than four years old as they constitute a choking hazard. They may be accidently swallowed and get lodged in the throat causing problems. At that age it is better to give syrups containing menthol. A concoction of honey and a few drops of ginger juice is also very effective and has no side effects.

An ingredient derived from mint plant called menthol is used in throat lozenges. It soothes the throat and also gives relief from cough and decongests the chest. In some rare cases too much use may cause irritation of the skin so do not over dose.

Homeopathy offers a safer alternative in the form of Echinacea. It acts to lessen the redness and swelling and also empowers the immune system. It has no side effects as in homeopathic treatment very diluted form of medicine is used which is too small to have an adverse effect, but to be on the safe side do not use it for more than a week.

If Allopathic medicine is to be used then lozenges containing pectin can be given to children. These are plant based and therefore safe. Pectin is found in the peels of fruits like apples and citrus fruits and often used to make jelly, so it can be given to children of all ages. It will soothe the throat and children will be able to swallow food more easily.

Yet stronger lozenges and sprays contain anaesthetics but they should be used only when very necessary as they have many side effects. No doubt they are quick acting and effective but they should be the last resort. They may cause a burning sensation in the throat and also cause skin rashes. They may mask the result of some medical tests that may be required for treatment.

It is always advisable to consult a doctor before giving any medicine to children. Parents should never try treating children on their own. Parents may not know that common drugs like Aspirin should not be given to children and may not be aware of the correct dosage required for children. Follow the doctor’s instructions carefully. Give a time gap between two medicines or better still clarify from the doctor which medicines can be given together and which ones need to be given after meals.