Strep throat is a bacterial infection and is most common in children. If left untreated, it can lead to health complications, such as scarlet fever and rheumatic fever.
There are certain signs that can indicate strep throat and set it apart from other similar conditions. If you suspect that your child has strep throat, see your doctor as soon as possible for a diagnosis and the necessary treatment.
Early Symptoms of Strep Throat
Strep throat can have similar symptoms to those of common viruses, but there are some distinct differences. Often a sore throat caused by a virus will come on gradually, but with strep throat, symptoms usually come on very quickly – leaving the throat painful and raw.
Strep throat is also not usually accompanied by cold-/virus-type symptoms, such as a runny nose, cough, or dry eyes. Common symptoms of strep throat can include:
- Pain when swallowing
- Red, swollen tonsils which may have white patches or areas of visible pus
- Small red spots on the roof of the mouth, particularly towards the back near the tonsils
- Swollen or tender lymph nodes in the side of the neck
- Fever (101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
- Sandpaper-type skin rash which starts on the face and neck and spreads to the body (a symptom of a streptococcal infection called scarlet fever)
- Stomachache, nausea, or vomiting
- Body aches
When to See a Doctor
Although strep throat is not life-threatening, it can lead to serious complications that can damage the joints and the heart. If your child has a sore throat that has lasted longer than 48 hours, and particularly if it is accompanied by a fever or any of the other symptoms listed above, you should see your pediatrician promptly for diagnosis and treatment.
What Causes Strep Throat?
Strep throat is caused by a bacterium known as streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus. This form of bacteria is highly contagious and can spread through airborne particles when someone with the infection coughs or sneezes, or through sharing food, drinks, and personal items with an infected person.
If someone in your home has strep throat, it is very important to wash your hands regularly. Do not share personal items with the infected person, and ensure that all surfaces and door handles are kept clean and free from germs.
Experienced Pediatricians in Newburyport and Haverhill, MA
At Children’s Health Care, we treat many childhood conditions and illnesses, including strep throat. We also provide a comprehensive range of pediatric and adolescent healthcare services that address both physical and emotional health from birth right through adolescence. Our medical team is composed of doctors, nurse practitioners, special needs professionals, and pediatric nutritionists who work to provide the best care for your child as they grow into adulthood.
Contact us today at one of our convenient locations if you would like to find out more about our pediatric services or would like to make an appointment with a member of our team. We look forward to helping your child grow up to be a healthy, happy adult!