“Does my child have strep throat?” is a question doctors often hear from parents. The most common cause of sore throats in children comes with the common cold. It is important to know the difference between a simple sore throat and strep throat caused by a kind of bacteria called Streptococcus Pyogenes.
Even though people of all ages can be infected, it is more prevalent among children aged 5 to 15. The virus can spread when a person with strep throat sneezes, coughs, shares eating utensils, or has close contact with others. (Mayo Clinic)
Signs And Symptoms
The intensity of strep throat may vary from person to person. They usually appear within five days after interaction with the strep bacterium. Some people experience minor symptoms, while others get more severe symptoms, including fever and difficulty swallowing.
The following are frequent strep throat symptoms:
- A high fever, especially if it is 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius)
- A painful, red throat with white patches
- Chills and a headache
- A decrease in appetite
- Neck lymph node swelling, difficulty swallowing
Children can get strep throat without developing a fever. Some of the lesser common symptoms include:
- Stomach ache
- Nausea and vomiting
When Strep Throat Turns to Scarlet Fever
Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection in persons with strep throat. It is is often associated with a painful throat and a high fever. Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina, is characterized by a big red rash covering most of the body. The rash starts with red spots on the skin and progresses to fine pimples. Scarlet fever rash can emerge before or up to 7 days after other symptoms begin. The rash goes away in approximately a week, but skin peeling in afflicted regions may last for several weeks following the infection. (Mayo Clinic)
Symptoms of Scarlet Fever
Red rash: The rash looks and feels like sunburn and is red. It usually starts on the face or neck and spreads to the chest, arms, and legs. When you push on the red skin, it turns white.
Red lines: The skin folds around the groin, armpits, elbows, knees, and neck often gets a deeper red than the rest of the rash.
Flushed face: Face flushed with a pale ring around the mouth may appear.
Strawberry tongue: Early in the condition, the tongue appears red and rough and is frequently covered with a white coating.
Is Strep Throat Contagious?
Strep throat is highly infectious. The majority of occurrences occur in school-aged children and adolescents. During the school year, infections are widespread, with peaks in winter and early spring, when large numbers of children and adolescents are in close contact.
Anyone can develop strep throat, but certain conditions increase the likelihood of contracting this common infection. Adults are more likely to get strep throat, including parents with children at school and adults who frequently interact with these children.
Infectious diseases tend to spread among big groups of people. Crowded environments can increase the likelihood of contracting strep infection. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Diagnosis Of Strep Throat
A doctor will ask about your or your child’s symptoms and perform a physical exam to determine the type of illness. If doctors suspect strep throat, they will swab your throat to test for it. There are two types of strep throat testing: quick strep tests and throat cultures.
A quick strep test is swabbing the throat and testing the swab. The test immediately determines whether group A strep is the source of the sickness. If the test is negative, but the doctor suspects strep throat, a throat culture swab can be taken. While it takes longer, a throat culture can sometimes detect infections that a quick strep test misses. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Care And Precautions
While battling strep throat, your child may benefit from home care. Avoid drinking orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemonade, or other acidic beverages since they can aggravate a sore throat. Soups, sweetened tea, or hot chocolate can all be calming.
People can acquire strep throat multiple times. Having strep throat once does not protect you from getting it again. While no vaccination exists to prevent strep throat, there are steps people may take to protect themselves and others.
Washing your hands frequently is the most effective technique to avoid contracting or spreading group A strep. This is especially crucial after coughing or sneezing and preparing or consuming meals. Make an appointment with your doctor if your strep throat symptoms do not improve within 48 hours after taking an antibiotic to lower your risk of complications.
Higuera, Valencia. “Strep Throat: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 6 Jan. 2022, www.healthline.com/health/strep-throat#recovery.
“Strep Throat (for Parents) – Nemours Kidshealth.” Edited by Rachel S. Schare, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Apr. 2022, kidshealth.org/en/parents/strep-throat.html.
Mount Sinai. “Strep Throat.” Mount Sinai Health System, www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/strep-throat.
Mayo Clinic. “Strep Throat.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Dec. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/strep-throat/symptoms-causes/syc-20350338#:~:text=Strep%20throat%20is%20caused%20by,through%20shared%20food%20or%20drinks.
Mayo Clinic. “Scarlet Fever.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 7 June 2022, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/scarlet-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20377406#:~:text=Scarlet%20fever%20is%20a%20bacterial,to%2015%20years%20of%20age.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Strep Throat: All You Need to Know.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 June 2022, www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html#:~:text=Pain%20when%20swallowing,the%20soft%20or%20hard%20palate.