A sore throat can have many different causes. Colds, influenza, allergies, and now even COVID-19! One of the common causes of sore throats in children ages 5-15 is strep throat. Group A Strep is the only common bacterial cause of a throat infection. Diagnosis can be confirmed by a Strep test on a sample of throat secretions. Cough, hoarseness, red eyes, runny nose, and cold symptoms are not typically seen with Strep throat. These symptoms point more to a viral cause and usually do not require a strep test.
SYMPTOMS OF STREP THROAT:
- Pain, discomfort, or raw feeling of the throat
- Pain is made worse when child swallows
- Stomach Pain, Nausea, and Vomiting
- Children less than 2 years of age usually can’t complain about a sore throat. A young child who does not want favorite foods may have a sore throat. They may also start to cry during feedings.
- Scarlet fever- This can cause a red, sandpaper-like rash and is highly suggestive of Strep throat.
- Throat is bright red
- Swollen and red tonsils, often covered with pus.
If you suspect your child might have Strep, call The Pediatric Center for an appointment. Strep throat is easy to treat with an antibiotic and complications are rare. Always give the antibiotic as directed and try not to forget any of the doses. Make sure to give the antibiotic until it is gone to stop the infection from flaring up again.
SELF CARE AT HOME:
- Age over 1 year. Can sip warm fluids such as chicken broth or apple juice.
- Age over 6 years. Can also suck on hard candy or lollipops. Butterscotch seems to help.
- Age over 8 years. Can also gargle. Use warm water with a little table salt added. A liquid antacid can be added instead of salt. Use Mylanta or the store brand. No prescription is needed.
- Medicated throat sprays or lozenges are generally not helpful.
- Pain and Fever Medicine:
- To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product such as Tylenol or an ibuprofen product such as Advil.
- For fevers above 102° F, Tylenol or Advil can also be used.
- Note: Fevers less than 102° F are important for fighting infections.
- Fluids and Soft Diet:
- Try to get your child to drink adequate fluids.
- Goal: Keep your child well hydrated.
- Cold drinks, milk shakes, popsicles, slushes, and sherbet are good choices.
- Solids. Offer a soft diet. Also avoid foods that need much chewing. Avoid citrus, salty, or spicy foods. Note: Fluid intake is much more important than eating any solids.
- Swollen tonsils can make some solid foods hard to swallow. Cut food into smaller pieces.
Strep throat usually responds quickly to antibiotics and the fever is usually gone by 24 hours. The sore throat starts to feel better by 48 hours. Your child can return to school after the fever is gone and they have been taking the antibiotic for 24 hours. Make sure your child feels well enough to join in normal activities before sending them back to school.
Call The Pediatric Center if your child is having trouble breathing or dehydration is suspected. You should also call if the fever lasts more than 2 days after starting antibiotics or the sore throat lasts more than 3 days after antibiotics. As always, if symptoms return or you feel like your child needs to be seen, please do not hesitate to contact The Pediatric Center. The board certified physicians at The Pediatric Center are 100% dedicated to the health and wellbeing of your child. With locations in Idaho Falls and Rigby, they will equip you with the information and treatment that you need, when you need it to help make your child as comfortable as possible.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.