“My throat hurts,” are three words parents may be hearing from their little ones in the coming weeks. Pediatricians at Ponderosa Pediatrics in Prescott – as well as healthcare providers in the Phoenix area – are seeing an increase in children with strep throat.
“Most parents think their children are less likely to pick up strep throat while school isn’t in session,” said Jennifer Tidroski, DO, Pediatrician, Ponderosa Pediatrics in Prescott. “But with summer activities – and our influx of summer visitors – youngsters are likely to be around many children, which could expose them to the strep bacteria.”
Parents: Watch for these Symptoms
What are the symptoms of strep throat? Parents should look for:
- Sore throat that starts quickly
- Pain when swallowing
- Tonsils that are red and swollen
- Red spots on the roof of the mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes on the neck
Babies with strep throat may have a thick nasal discharge, low-grade fever (under 101° Fahrenheit) and lack of appetite.
Take the Strep Test
“It’s important for parents to know they cannot determine on their own whether their child has strep throat,” said Dr. Tidroski. “But, it can be quickly diagnosed by a physician using a Rapid Strep Test.”
If the RST results are positive, the provider will typically prescribe an antibiotic to treat strep throat. Left untreated, strep throat can lead to more serious conditions such as scarlet fever or rheumatic fever.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children with strep throat should remain home from camp, daycare or school until they are fever-free and have been taking antibiotics for at least 24 hours. This will help prevent spreading the highly contagious strep infection.
How to Prevent Strep
While there is no vaccine to prevent strep, there are some precautions you can teach your children. These include:
- Frequent hand-washing
- Not sharing cups or eating utensils
- Covering their mouths when coughing and sneezing
“Strep throat is a very treatable condition,” Dr. Tidroski said. “If your child has strep-like symptoms, the Ponderosa Pediatrics team advises you to have your children tested. If the test is positive, a treatment plan that includes rest, antibiotics and fluids will have your little one feeling better soon.”