Strep throat is responsible for almost one-third of all sore throats. Children of all ages can get strep throat, but its symptoms are more severe in children older than three years. Catherine Meli, MD, and Naheed Rahmet, MD, encourage you to call Seashore Pediatrics as soon as you suspect your child has a strep throat. Early treatment provides relief from pain and shortens the length of their illness. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Wall Township, New Jersey, or book an appointment online.
Strep throat is an infection caused by group A streptococcus bacteria, or group A strep. These bacteria are spread through coughing, sneezing, and direct contact. For example, if bacteria are on one child’s hand and they touch a toy or doorknob, the next person who touches the same object can pick up the bacteria.
If your child’s sore throat isn’t due to group A strep, it may be caused by allergies, post-nasal drip, dry air, and any number of bacteria and viruses.
In infants and children, the virus responsible for the common cold is most often responsible for a sore throat, which means it isn’t treated with medication and clears away on its own. By comparison, a strep throat always needs medication.
When your child has strep, their sore throat usually comes on suddenly and swallowing is difficult because it’s severely painful. Within a few days, they’ll develop symptoms such as:
If you suspect your child has strep, it’s important to bring them into Seashore Pediatrics so they can get treatment as soon as possible.
Children at every age can develop all the strep symptoms. However, they may have slightly different signs, depending on their age:
Your infant may only have a low fever and thick, nasal discharge.
Toddlers have a thick or bloody nasal discharge, but they’ll also have a higher fever and lose their appetite. Your toddler may complain of a stomach ache more than a sore throat.
Strep symptoms get more severe as kids get older. Their throat may be more painful, their fever could be higher, and they may have signs of pus on their tonsils.
Your doctor at Seashore Pediatrics may perform a rapid strep test, which gives results in five minutes. In some cases, they may send a sample to the lab for a throat culture.
Strep is treated with antibiotics. When your child receives antibiotics within 48 hours of the symptoms appearing, the medication shortens the duration of their illness, significantly reduces their symptoms and diminishes the time they’re contagious.
When your child has signs of a strep throat, call Seashore Pediatrics or book an appointment online.