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All about strep throat

Young boy holds hand to throat and winces in pain.

Along with all the other infectious diseases in our community right now, one we typically see in children is strep throat. Strep throat can feel awful and impact your energy and eating. Here’s what symptoms to be on the lookout for and ways to feel better.  

What is strep throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes the throat to hurt. Strep throat is contagious, and anyone can get it. Most cases happen in kids and teens because they are close together in schools and daycares causing it to spread easily.

The bacteria that causes strep throat is in the nose and throat through droplets, so things like coughing, sneezing, sharing food, cups or utensils and touching can spread the bacteria from person to person easily. Washing your hands and covering your cough and sneezes is a great way to help prevent the spread of germs.

Symptoms of strep throat can include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Red or swollen tonsils
  • Tender, or swollen neck glands

Symptoms of strep throat do not include:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose or congestion
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

How to get diagnosed for strep throat and where to go

Your doctor’s office or urgent care will need to perform a test to confirm if it’s strep throat. The test will be taking a sample of the fluids in the back of the throat on a cotton swab. It may feel slightly uncomfortable for a short time, but painless.  

Ways to feel better

For a positive strep throat test, a doctor will typically prescribe antibiotics for 10 days. The antibiotics will help your child feel better in about 2-3 days and they are typically not considered contagious after 12 hours of using the antibiotics. Here are some other ways to help your child feel better.

  • Continue antibiotics, completing the full prescription.
  • Rest in bed and sleep often to help the body recover.
  • Drink clear fluids like water, ginger ale or other clear soda. Avoid acidic juices.
  • Try soothing warm liquids like soup, tea or hot chocolate that may feel comforting.

Avoid spreading strep throat

Strep throat is contagious, but there are some ways to help reduce the spread and keep the rest of the family healthy.

Speak with your doctor about when it’s okay to return to school and normal activities. But remember, finish the full antibiotics prescription even if your child is feeling better.

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