"Core throat" is frequently found in the nursery. It is rare to find a large family of children without one who suffers from a delicate throat. The two chief forms of sore throat in the nursery are (1) Tonsilitis, or quinsy; and (2) spotted sore throat.
Tonsilitis is an acute inflammation of the tonsils, associated with rise of temperature and general evidence of ill-health. The child may complain of headache, and there is loss of appetite, and perhaps sickness. Whenever a child has "sore throat," with rise of temperature, he should be put to bed at once, and a doctor sent for. Tonsilitis is often the starting-point of acute rheumatism, and many serious diseases commence with sore throat. As a rule, tonsilitis only lasts for a few days. Perhaps one tonsil is inflamed at the beginning, and when the inflammation subsides in that one the other begins to swell. If a child is old enough to gargle, an excellent domestic gargle for all forms of sore throat consists of a teaspoonful of glycerine, a tea-spoonful of tincture of myrrh, and a teaspoonful of borax in a tumblerful of tepid water.
Spotted Sore Throat is an infectious condition of the throat, which may last for a long time. It may originate in a chill, and it is often associated with defective drainage of the house. Whenever a family is constantly having bad throats, the drainage should always be investigated. Attention to hygiene in a house goes a long way to prevent sore throats of all kinds. Badly ventilated nurseries, damp clothes, and careless feeding are real causes of frequent sore throats. Another great cause of sore throat is the habit of mouth-breathing. The nose is intended by Nature to filter and warm the air before it enters the respiratory passages. When, however, the air is drawn directly into the mouth and throat it is laden with germs which irritate the delicate throat structures and the lining membrane of the air-passages. This irritation sets up a relaxed condition, which is associated with a chronic sore throat. Then the germs which enter the throat along with the dust find a harbourage in the relaxed tissues, and produce an acute sore throat.
One of the best ways of preventing throat ailments in the nursery is to insist upon nose-breathing. Never, under any circumstances, allow the child to get into the habit of breathing through the mouth. Mouth-breathing may be only a habit which requires checking. It is sometimes, however, due to the. presence of adenoid growths in the throat, which choke up the nasal passages, compelling the child to breathe through the mouth. In this case, the adenoids must at once be removed to safeguard the child's health, and to prevent such complications as chest ailments, which hinder so many children's growth and development. (See article on " Adenoids " on page 364 in Part 3.)
Chronic Enlarged Tonsils may be associated with adenoids. They encourage a tendency to repeated sore throats and attacks of tonsilitis, although they sometimes do not give any trouble at all. When they are not troublesome, operative interference is not advisable. Breathing exercises will do a great deal to improve the tonsils, whilst daily gargling with half a teaspoonful of powdered alum in a tumblerful of tepid water is an excellent measure, which may do away with the need of an operation even in troublesome cases. Attention to a child's general health is, of course, necessary in all such cases.
We have dealt with the main causes of simple sore throat. Any delicacy of the throat should never be neglected, as it is the child with a chronically troublesome throat who is most apt to catch diphtheria. Frequent throat attacks also pull down a child's health, and the sensible mother finds out the reason why the throat is troublesome, and deals with it. When domestic measures are not successful she takes the child to a throat specialist. It is always wiser to spend money on a child's health than in providing him with luxuries in the way of recreation or ornamental educational subjects, which will have far less value than good health and vitality.