Warning Signs Your Child Has Strep

May 01, 2022
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Warning Signs Your Child Has Strep

When your child has a sore throat, it doesn’t automatically mean they have strep. The flu, a cold, allergies, and COVID-19 can all make your child complain that their throat feels scratchy and uncomfortable. 

Strep is caused by a bacteria called group A streptococcus. Strep throat requires treatment with antibiotics, which help resolve the bacterial infection, meaning your child gets back to school and fun activities within a few days. If your child has a sore throat due to a virus, antibiotics won’t help. A viral sore throat needs to run its course.

Here are some tips from the specialists at St. Michael’s Elite Hospital, located in Sugar Land, Texas, so you can tell if your child’s sore throat is due to strep and if you need to get medical care to resolve it.

Signs of strep throat

A significant sign that your child has strep is a sore throat. The illness usually causes a fever, red and swollen tonsils, and swollen, painful neck glands.

Strep has other symptoms like:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Headache
  • Red and white patches in the throat
  • Loss of appetite and fatigue

Your child may also complain of general unwellness. They won’t feel like playing or doing their normal activities.

Children who have a sore throat due to a virus might have a cough, red eyes, or runny nose. Strep throat doesn’t usually cause hoarseness. 

The importance of a correct diagnosis

Because strep throat is very contagious, it’s essential to identify it early. That way, you can prevent your child from spreading it to classmates, playmates, or other family members. Your child is most likely to spread the disease when their symptoms are most intense, but they can remain contagious for up to three weeks — especially without antibiotics.

Complications of strep throat aren’t common, especially if you get your child prompt treatment, but they can occur. If you suspect your child has strep, contact our team to avoid:

  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Sinus infections or ear infections
  • Abscesses around the tonsils or in the neck
  • Rheumatic fever

Our team diagnoses strep with a rapid strep test. That requires a swab of the back of the throat and culturing it to look for the bacteria. Results are available within five minutes.

If the test is positive, your child has strep. If the rapid strep test is negative, your child may still have strep if they have other symptoms of the illness. Your provider will send your child’s throat culture to a lab for further analysis. These results come back within a few days.

If you need an immediate answer about your child’s illness, take advantage of the emergency care offered at St. Michael’s Elite Hospital. 

We test for flu and strep in adults and children, so you get the care you need right away, without any delay. 

Call St. Michael's Elite Hospital in Sugar Land, Texas, to have your child’s sore throat evaluated, or use this website to reach out.