Is it Strep?

One tough question pediatricians are often asked via email and cell phone is:

Does my child have strep?

Without a magic flashlight and throat swabs that travel through cyberspace or cell towers it’s a guess at best, but there are some clues to help figure it out.

Does kiddo have severe throat pain that causes difficulty swallowing? 

Strep throat hurts. Bad. Children with strep will usually avoid eating and drinking — even stuff they like. If yours turns down a favorite that’s normally on the forbidden list, that’s a red flag.

Are tonsils red and swollen with white patches or streaks of pus?

Strep throat infection is caused by the bacteria streptococcus, and often causes tonsils to look swollen and angry red with yucky looking white goo. A viral sore throat will look red too, but it’s rarely as dramatic as strep.

Is there fever? How high? 

Strep can cause high fever, often up to 104 F. Parents tend to get alarmed — a red flag that this is more than your run-of-the-mill viral illness. A garden variety sore throat may or may not have fever.

Does kiddo have a headache, stomach ache or vomiting? 

When these are present along with a sore throat, suspect strep!

It’s possible to have many of these signs and symptoms, but not have strep throat. The cause could be a viral infection or some other kind of illness. That’s why your doctor tests for strep throat with a rapid strep test or throat culture.

It’s also possible to have the bacteria that causes strep without having a sore throat. Some people are carriers of strep, which means they can pass the bacteria on to others, but the bacteria are not making them sick.

Call your doctor if your child has any of these signs and symptoms:

  • A sore throat without cold symptoms
  • A sore throat accompanied by tender, swollen lymph glands
  • A severe sore throat that lasts longer than 48 hours
  • A fever higher than 101 F in older children
  • Rash with sore throat
  • Problems breathing or difficulty swallowing anything, including saliva
  • If strep has been diagnosed, a lack of improvement after taking antibiotics for 24 to 48 hours
  • Fever, pain or swelling in the joints, shortness of breath or a rash up to 3 weeks after a strep infection; these can be warning signs of rheumatic fever
  • Dark urine more than a week after a strep infection; this may indicate kidney inflammation (poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis)

It’s always important to treat a strep infection with antibiotics to prevent complications like rheumatic fever. If you suspect strep, hightail it to the doc for testing. Better safe than sorry!

 

Email This Post Email This Post

Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?


Warning: Illegal string offset 'echo' in /home/mamasonc/public_html/mama/wp-content/themes/hybrid/library/extensions/custom-field-series.php on line 157

Leave a Reply

Loading

MAMAS ON DEMAND

PARENT COACHING
& CONSULTATION

With One or Both of Us


Go to AskDrMama.com & AskMamaEllen.com for the scoop!

Phone • Internet • Your Home or Group

Watch This!

Learning about mental illness and how to talk about it is key to good parenting and healthy living. Take a look. It's oh, so common!

What You Said

  • RF: Well my baby had her first two bottom theeth at 10 months old and i tought so far so good and then now at 11...
  • ΠΡΟΓΝΩΣΤΙΚΑ ΟΠΑΠ: It’s remarkable designed for me to have a web page, which is beneficial for my experience....
  • sportsbooktop: Please let me know if you’re looking for a writer for your site. You have some really good posts...
  • Kristen: Cassandra, I get these little white bubble type blisters on my hand that sometimes dont itch and sometimes...
  • discount nfl clothing: discount nfl clothing cheap nfl jerseys free shipping paypal
  • Desley Joyce Brooker: I have a rash, that began over 5 weeks ago on my chest and within days it covered by entire...
  • hotcelebritywallpaper.com: This article is really a good one it assists new internet people, who are wishing for...
  • Paket wisata villa: Hello akan Anda pikiran berbagi Platform yang blog Anda menggunakan? Saya akan untuk memulai blog...
  • download ppt: Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice at the same time as you amend your site, how can i...
  • ΑΠΕΝΤΟΜΩΣΕΙΣ ΧΑΝΙΑ: With havin so much written content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright...

Just so you know

The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.