If you are like most parents, you’ve had a child come down with strep throat, a common childhood illness.
Strep throat is an infection caused by bacteria called streptococcus.
Symptoms include sore throat, fever, swollen and sore neck glands, red and swollen tonsils, white patches in the throat or on the tonsils and a headache.
Children may also experience abdominal pain, vomiting or a red rash with small spots that are worse under the arms and in skin creases.
Strep can be diagnosed by a rapid strep test that provides results within 15 minutes or a throat culture that takes up to two days for results.
The spread of strep throat can be prevented by frequent hand washing, covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding sharing food utensils at all times.
Although kids are taught these prevention techniques, they don’t always practice them.
Strep infection is contagious until your child has been treated with an antibiotic for one to three days.
Children who have strep throat should not attend school or day care until their fever has gone away, and they have taken an antibiotic for at least 24 hours.
Strep throat is treated with antibiotics, which kill bacteria. This helps ease symptoms and resolve the illness faster.
This can also prevent a few rare but serious conditions that might develop such as rheumatic fever or kidney inflammation.
It is important to take all of the antibiotics the doctor prescribes to reduce the risk that symptoms will return and to help prevent antibiotic resistance.
Ways to help your child feel better:
- Give a child ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain and reduce fever. Do Not give children under 18 years old aspirin.
- Have older children suck on throat lozenges, hard candy or pieces of ice.
- Give both young and older children popsicles to suck.
- Serve children soft foods.
- Have children drink cold water or warm liquids (such as broths, soups and tea) to stay hydrated.
A child who has strep throat is likely to sleep a lot, which is good because rest helps your body fight infection.
We hope your son or daughter will have a speedy recovery and be back to school in a couple of days.