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How to Tell if Your Child is Coming Down with Strep Throat

About three in 10 children with a sore throat have strep throat, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are many reasons why your child’s throat may hurt, such as the common cold, various viruses, or the flu. How is a parent to know when a sore throat is actually strep throat? 

There are several tell-tale symptoms that indicate strep throat as opposed to some other cause. Dr. Smita Tandon and Dr. Angeli Suarez have treated thousands of cases of strep throat at our office in Fountain Valley, California. We offer rapid, in-office testing so that if your child does have strep, they can get treatment quickly. 

Strep throat is caused by a specific bacterium: Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A Streptococcus. When your child has strep, they probably begin to feel badly very quickly. They may be fine in the morning and miserable by afternoon. Here’s what you need to look for. 

What are the symptoms of strep throat? 

There are two different categories of symptoms to consider when it comes to strep throat: those you’re unlikely to see when your child has strep and those that are more obvious signs. 

With strep throat, your child is likely to have a fever and swollen lymph nodes. They may have a headache, body aches, or a rash. You may see very small, red bumps at the back of your child’s mouth, on the roof of their mouth, or on their tonsils. Their tonsils may be red and swollen. 

The most pronounced symptom, of course, is a very sore throat. It likely hurts to swallow and your child may sound hoarse. 

Strep throat is usually not accompanied by a runny nose or red eyes. It’s possible, but most of the time, if your child has these symptoms, they’re likely to have a common cold or suffer from allergies. 

How is strep throat treated?

Since strep is caused by bacteria, it can be treated with antibiotics that we prescribe. It may take a day or two for the antibiotics to work, and it’s important for your child to finish the entire course of medication. 

It’s also good to make sure your child gets a lot of rest and stays hydrated while recovering from strep throat. You can give them over-the-counter pain relievers and other things that help ease the pain, such as warm tea or cold ice pops.

If left untreated, strep throat can create serious complications in other parts of your child’s body. With a quick test, we can let you know if your child has strep and get started on treatment right away.

Helping your child avoid strep throat 

Strep throat is most common in children, but adults can and do get it, especially adults who spend time with children who have strep. That’s because it’s very contagious. 

To limit the spread of strep, be sure you and everyone in your household follows careful, thorough hand-washing procedures. Make sure everyone knows to cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough, and don’t share drinks or utensils. 

If you suspect your child has strep throat, book an appointment with Dr. Tandon or Dr. Suarez today. Call us to schedule an appointment or request one online.

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