While most sore throats are caused by viruses, not a bacterial infection with "strep," as parents we are often trying to identify when a strep infection has affected one of our children. Strep throat is an infection caused by the bacterium Group A streptococcus pyogenes. In some people, this bacterium can live in or on our body without causing significant illness.
Some characteristic signs and symptoms of strep throat include:
Red and white patches in the throat Difficulty swallowing Tender or swollen lymph nodes in the neck Red, enlarged tonsils Headache Abdominal pain Fever Decreased appetite Nausea and/or vomiting A fine, widespread rash, often described as feeling like sandpaper
Note: many of these features can by associated with viral illnesses as well; it may be difficult to differentiate causes without seeing your child in the office.
Rapid strep tests, run in 5 minutes in our office, correctly identify 95% of children with strep throat. Our office cultures all negative rapid tests to identify any strep infection not diagnosed by the rapid test.
Within 24 hours of starting antibiotic treatment, a person with a strep infection is no longer contagious to others. However, it is very important to take the full course of antibiotic as prescribed by your doctor, as the full course reduces the risk of complications or relapse from the strep infection.
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Silver Spring Pediatrics
Drs. DeConcini, Schooler, Zang, Wang, Yee & Marcus
Image courtesy of mayoclinic.org
Image courtesy of healthline.com