Strep throat is an infection that can cause fever (in some cases a high fever) and pain for your child. In the winter during cold and flu season, many children will be exposed to strep throat at school and on the playground. Knowing how to identify strep throat in your child and what to do if you believe that your child has strep throat can help you keep your child safe this winter.
What are the warning signs that your child has strep throat?
To a parent who has never had strep throat personally or had to care for a child with strep throat, this illness can be difficult to distinguish from a serious cold or the flu. Many of the symptoms of colds, flu and strep throat will overlap with one another. Achy bones, sore throat, nausea, fever and swollen lymph nodes are all common symptoms of this illness.
In fact, the way that many parents can distinguish strep throat from other illnesses involves the sore throat's severity and speed of onset. A child with a cold or the flu may get a sore throat slowly over many days as a result of congestion in the head. A child with strep throat will get a severely painful sore throat at the beginning of the illness. Many children will come down with a sore throat in a matter of hours. Children with strep throat often find the sore throat painful enough that they don't want to eat or swallow. This reluctance to swallow can result in dehydration and elevated fever.
What should you do if you believe your child has strep throat?
Except in cases of viral strep throat, children with this illness typically require antibiotics during the recovery period. Taking antibiotics can help get the fever under control and speed the recovery process. If you believe your child has strep throat, it's important to get your child to the doctor quickly. The doctor will be able to do a throat culture to test for strep throat, and if your child is diagnosed, the doctor can prescribe antibiotics. If your child falls ill over the weekend, take your child to an urgent care center, such as Premier Urgent Care Centers of California, Inc., to get the medicine your child needs.
For more information about strep throat, talk to your child's doctor or to the physician at the urgent care center. He or she can answer your questions and help ensure that your child gets the care required to get better.