Strep throat or “Group A streptococci” is one of the most common infections spread among children and teenagers. Strep throat can be spread from sneezing, coughing or touching an infected child and is very contagious. However, the symptoms can be different depending on a child’s age.
- Infants (under a year old): While it is uncommon for children under the age of two to contract strep throat, symptoms would include a fever, decreased appetite and irritability
- Toddlers: Toddlers might complain of tummy pain as well as a sore throat. They will also experience a bloody or thick nasal discharge accompanied by a fever. Toddlers will typically be very grumpy, and have a decreased appetite when experiencing strep throat.
- Children over age three: Fever over 102 degrees Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius), swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and pus on the tonsils. Children over the age of three often experience more severe symptoms and will have an extremely sore throat. They can also experience a stomachache ache and vomiting can also occur.
It’s important to be able to distinguish a strep throat from a viral sore throat, because strep infections are treated with antibiotics.
If your child has a persistent sore throat, take them to their pediatrician. A rapid strep test is available that will give you results during your visit. If the rapid strep test is negative, your doctor may confirm the results with a culture. If the test is negative antibiotics are unnecessary because the infection is most likely viral. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics. However if the rapid strep test is positive, antibiotics can help treat the infection.
Your child can experience one or all of the symptoms of a strep throat! If you think your child has strep throat, take them to see their doctor or physician! If you cannot make an appointment, bring them to a Little Spurs near you and we can see them right away!
-Thomas Spurgat, MD, MBA