When to Take Your Child to the ER for Cough or Sore Throat 

Coughs and sore throats often seem like par for the course—especially during flu season. In most cases, your child will recover from a cough or sore throat with home care or a visit to the pediatrician.

However, if your child’s cough or sore throat is accompanied by any of the symptoms below, or if his or her immune system is compromised due to an existing condition, you may need to seek emergency treatment. 

If Your Child Has These Symptoms, Emergency Care May Be Necessary

Take your child to the pediatric ER if the cough or sore throat is accompanied by: 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • High fever
    • Higher than 100.4 degrees for children younger than 3 months old
    • Higher than 102.2 degrees for children older than 3 months old
  • Coughing up blood
  • Inability to swallow
  • Muffled voice
  • Inability to open his or her mouth all the way
  • Significant swelling on one side of the throat, which may indicate an abscess of the tonsil 

HealthONE has five pediatric emergency departments in the Denver metro area, so you are certain to find an ER that is close to home and able to diagnose and treat your child’s cough or sore throat. Our hospitals strive to beat the national average wait time, so you can get quick access to high-quality emergency medical care.