How Is Strep Throat Diagnosed
If your child has a sore throat and other strep throat symptoms, call your doctor. The doctor will likely do a rapid strep test in the office, using a cotton swab to take a sample of the fluids at the back of the throat. The test only takes about 5 minutes.
If it’s positive, your child has strep throat. If it’s negative, the doctor will send a sample to a lab for a throat culture. The results are usually available within a few days.
When To See A Doctor
If you develop a sudden sore throat and are concerned for strep, you should speak with a healthcare provider.
While strep throat can go away on its own in many cases, antibiotic treatment can help symptoms go away about one day more quickly, and may slightly decrease sore throat pain after about 3 days of use.
Antibiotics may also help prevent more serious complications from developing.
If you have a sore throat and develop difficulty swallowing, speaking, or breathing, you should seek emergency medical care.
Treatments For Strep Throat
The three most common antibiotics prescribed for strep throat are:
- Penicillin: Dosages range from 250 mg twice daily to 500 mg twice daily, depending on age. The typical course of penicillin for strep throat is 10 days.
- Amoxicillin: Doses for children are based on their body weight, and may be prescribed 2-3 times per day. The standard adult dose of amoxicillin for strep throat is 500mg twice a day for 10 days, or 1,000mg extended release once a day for 10 days.
- Cephalexin: For individuals allergic to penicillin, cephalexin may be used. The dose is based on body weight for children, and may be divided 2-4 times per day. The standard adult dose is 500mg twice a day for 10 days.
While there are concerns over antibiotic resistance, the CDC notes that there has never been a report of penicillin resistance from group A strep.
You can also treat pain and discomfort from strep throat with over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen .
Gargles, warm tea, and throat lozenges may also ease sore throat pain.
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How To Protect Others
- Keep your child away from others for 12 hours after you start giving the antibiotics.
- Good hand washing is VERY important! Clean your hands and your childs hands often with soap and water. Wash for 15 to 20 seconds, or the time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. Rub hands until dry Have your child cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissues away right away.
- Do not share drinking cups or eating utensils.
- If anyone in the family gets a sore throat, they should be checked by their doctor or health care provider to see if they have strep.
- Tell your childs school nurse and teacher if they have strep throat. The school needs to know so they can tell other parents to watch for symptoms in their children.
- Your child should stay home from school or childcare until they have taken antibiotic medicine for 12 hours and have no fever.
How Long Is Strep Throat Contagious
If you become infected with strep, you may not become sick for 2-5 days.
This is called the incubation period.
During this time, you can be contagious with strep throat even before you show symptoms.
You are considered contagious with strep throat until you have been without a fever for at least 24 hours and are starting to feel better, or until you have been taking antibiotics for a full day.
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British Columbia Specific Information
Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
Strep throat is an infection caused by a bacteria called Group A Streptococcus . It is more common in children than adults. Strep throat starts suddenly with a high fever, headache, swollen red throat and tonsils, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, white or yellow patches at the back of the throat and, in children, abdominal pain.
Strep throat can be treated with antibiotics. It is important to take all of the antibiotics that are prescribed and to take them on time.
If you are in contact with someone with invasive GAS you may require antibiotics. Speak to your health care provider for more information.
For more information see, HealthLinkBC File # 106 Group A Streptococcal Infections.
If you have questions about symptoms, management, or diagnosis of strep throat, speak with your health care provider. You may also call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered nurse. Our nurses are available anytime, every day of the year, and our pharmacists are available every night from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
You may want to have a say in this decision, or you may simply want to follow your doctor’s recommendation. Either way, this information will help you understand what your choices are so that you can talk to your doctor about them.
What Is Strep Throat
Strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils that is caused by a bacterium known as group A Streptococcus. Strep throat spreads from person to person very easily, especially among family members. It is common in school-aged children but also occurs in adults.
Strep throat can very rarely cause more serious illnesses, such as rheumatic fever, a disease that can harm the heart valves. So, it’s important that strep throat is appropriately diagnosed and treated. With proper treatment, strep throat is usually cured within 10 days.
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When To Seek Medical Advice
Scarlet fever usually clears up after about a week, but if you think you or your child may have it, see your GP for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Your GP should be able to diagnose scarlet fever by examining the distinctive rash and asking about other symptoms. They may also decide to take a sample of saliva from the back of the throat so it can be tested in a laboratory to confirm the diagnosis.
There’s no evidence to suggest that catching scarlet fever when pregnant will put your baby at risk. However, if you’re heavily pregnant, tell the doctors and midwives in charge of your care if you’ve been in contact with someone who has scarlet fever.
About Author: Lisa Coon
Lisa Coon is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since August 2016. A Peoria native, she is a graduate of Bradley University with a degree in journalism. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Iowa and Illinois.She lives in Groveland with her husband and son. In her free time she likes to cook, bake and read. She freely admits that reality TV is a weakness, and she lives by the quote, The beach is good for the soul.
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Strep Throat: Symptoms And Treatment
Strep throat is an infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A Streptococcus .
Streptococcal pharyngitis is highly contagious and can spread by nasal secretions and saliva. Strep throat most often afflicts children younger than 16, and is most common in the United States in the winter and spring, according to the Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
When To Call The Doctor Or Health Care Provider
- Develop a rash or diarrhea.
- Have a sore throat that lasts more than 3 days.
- Cant eat, drink, or show signs of dehydration .
- Do not pee for 6 or more hours. Urine is very dark.
- Have a dry, sticky mouth.
- Have no energy or are hard to wake up.
HH-I-122 11/89, Revised 5/22 Copyright 1989, Nationwide Childrens Hospital
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How You Get Strep Throat
Group A strep live in the nose and throat and can easily spread to other people. People who are infected spread the bacteria by talking, coughing, or sneezing, which creates small respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria. They can also spread the bacteria from infected sores on their skin.
It usually takes two to five days for someone exposed to group A strep to become ill with strep throat.
It is important to know that some infected people do not have symptoms or seem sick. People sick with strep throat are much more contagious than those who do not have symptoms.
People can get sick if they:
- Breathe in respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria
- Touch something with those droplets on it and then touch their mouth or nose
- Drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as a person infected with group A strep
- Touch sores on the skin caused by group A strep or come into contact with fluid from the sores
Rarely, people can spread group A strep through food that is not handled properly .
Is This Your Child’s Symptom
- Your child was diagnosed with a Strep throat infection
- A doctor has told you your child probably has Strep throat or
- Your child has a positive Strep test
- Your child is taking an antibiotic for Strep throat and you have questions
- You are worried that the fever or sore throat is not getting better fast enough
Symptoms Of Strep Throat Infection
- Pain, discomfort or raw feeling of the throat
- Pain is made worse when swallows
- Children less than 2 years of age usually can’t complain about a sore throat. A young child who does not want favorite foods may have a sore throat. They may also start to cry during feedings.
- Other symptoms include sore throat, fever, headache, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.
- Cough, hoarseness, red eyes, and runny nose are not seen with Strep throat. These symptoms point more to a viral cause.
- Scarlet fever rash is highly suggestive of Strep throat.
- If you look at the throat with a light, it will be bright red. The tonsil will be red and swollen, often covered with pus.
- Peak age: 5 to 15 years old. Not common under 2 years old unless sibling has Strep.
What Else Do You Need To Make Your Decision
Check the facts
- You’re right. Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- You’re right. Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
- You’re right. Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
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Recovery How Long Does Strep Throat Last
If you receive strep throat antibiotic treatment, your illness may only last for one to three days. If left untreated, recovery will take longer, and your risk for developing complications will increase. Additionally, without treatment, you can still be contagious for several weeks, even after you stop feeling sick.
When Should You Go To An Omaha Urgent Care For Strep Throat
Although strep throat is common in children and adults with a sore throat, especially if accompanied by fever or other associated symptoms, you should consider consulting a healthcare professional. It is often too difficult to know definitively whether or not strep throat is present without a professional evaluation.
Furthermore, there are other serious causes of sore throat that may require alternative treatments . Finally, consider seeking medical advice if a person has been treated for strep throat and has not improved within 4 to 5 days.
If a person has a sore throat or if they have been diagnosed with strep throat, and have any of the following signs or symptoms, they should immediately seek care in a hospitals emergency department:
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty or inability to swallow food or liquid
- Unable to open the mouth
- Unable to swallow saliva, or drooling
- Severe throat pain
- Bleeding in the throat
- Swelling or redness of the neck
Although some of these signs and symptoms may be related to a strep throat infection, they can also be indicators of other emergent conditions such as peritonsillar abscess, epiglottitis, tracheitis, or retropharyngeal abscess.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Strep Throat
The primary symptom of strep throat is a sore, scratchy throat. However, this is typically not mild in nature. Most strep throat pain is severe. The illness is almost always accompanied by a high fever, and it can also result in body aches, headaches, or nausea and vomiting. Nausea is more common in children than adults who contract the illness. Strep throat is also indicated by swollen lymph nodes in the neck and red or white patches on the back of the throat or tonsils.
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Urine is pink or tea color
- Taking antibiotic more than 24 hours, and sore throat pain is severe. The pain is not better 2 hours after taking pain medicines.
- Taking antibiotic more than 48 hours and fever still there or comes back
- Taking antibiotic more than 3 days and other Strep symptoms not better
- You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
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How Do People Get Strep Throat
The bacteria that cause strep throat tend to hang out in the nose and throat. So normal activities like sneezing, coughing, or shaking hands can easily spread an infection from one person to another.
Kids with untreated strep throat are more likely to spread the infection when their symptoms are most severe, but can still infect others for up to 3 weeks.
That’s why it’s so important to teach kids to wash their hands. well and often. This can lower their chances of getting contagious diseases like strep throat.
How To Care For Your Child
There are thingsyou can do to help your child feel better.
- Give them lots of liquids, like water, Pedialyte®, diluted apple juice, or popsicles. Give small amounts of liquid often .
- Give soft foods that are easy to swallow, like applesauce, mashed potatoes, hot cereal, or eggs. Your child may not want to eat much if it hurts to swallow.
- To soothe a sore throat, offer:
- For children over age 1, give warm fluids like water, herbal tea with honey, or diluted apple juice. Do not give honey to children under age 1. For some children, cold fluids or popsicles can be soothing.
- For children over age 4, give throat or cough lozenges or use throat sprays. Read the label to know the right dose for your child. Do not use throat sprays that contain benzocaine, as this could cause a drug reaction.
- For children over age 6 who are able to gargle without swallowing, mix ½ teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Have them swish and gargle the mixture 2 to 3 times a day for the next few days. Do not let your child swallow the salt water have them spit it out.
- For a fever or throat pain, give acetaminophen or ibuprofen as directed. Read the label to know the right dose for your child. Do not give aspirin or products that contain aspirin.