Anyone can get strep throat, but it’s particularly common in school-age children between the ages of 5-15. The bacterial infection is easily spread when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks. The infected germs float through the air to be breathed in by others. The germs can also settle onto surfaces that, when touched, can be easily transferred to your child’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
Strep throat can be miserable. Fortunately, it is easy to treat. That’s why our team at St. Michael’s Elite Hospital in Sugar Land, Texas, wants you to be aware of the signs. If you think your child has strep, bring them in for a throat culture. We can confirm a diagnosis and get them the antibiotics necessary for a full recovery.
Here are five signs of strep throat to watch for:
If your child complains of a severe sore throat, it could be strep throat.
The pain may be most prominent when swallowing. It may feel knife-like and sharp.
Because strep throat spreads quickly, if your child has symptoms and you know of a child from school or a playgroup that was recently diagnosed, it’s likely your child has strep, too. Symptoms usually show up within 2-5 days of having come in contact with the bacteria.
The group A Streptococcus bacteria that causes strep throat often also causes fever and chills. A fever of up to 104 degrees is possible. Your child will experience the muscle aches and pains that accompany a fever, too.
When your child opens their mouth wide, you can see the tonsils at the back of the throat. If this tissue appears red and swollen, it could be a sign of strep. Sometimes white patches or streaks of pus appear on the tonsils, too.
The lymph nodes filter and trap bacteria and other invaders before they can spread to other parts of your body. Your neck has a lymph node on either side that you can gently feel with your fingers. If your child’s lymph nodes feel swollen, they may have a strep infection. Sometimes, the swelling is pronounced enough to see without palpating.
Strep throat can also bring on headaches, stomach pain, vomiting, and nausea. A rash, called scarlet fever, may also develop.
If you suspect your child has strep throat, bring them into our emergency care clinic for a quick test. Our team performs a quick swab of your throat to collect cells. When cultured, this rapid test usually reveals strep. If your child tests negative, but their symptoms really scream “strep,” we will send the sample to a lab for a more thorough test. Those results take a day or two to come back.
Antibiotics clear up strep throat within a day or two. Make sure your child takes the entire prescription, even if they start to feel better. The entire course is necessary to eliminate all traces of the infection.
Keep your child home from school and playdates until they no longer have a fever and have been on antibiotics for at least 12 hours.
Reach out to St. Michael’s Elite Hospital in Sugar Land, Texas, if your child has symptoms of an illness, like strep throat or the flu. Contact our hospital to schedule an appointment immediately or make your way to the emergency room.