Strep throat is perhaps one of the most dreaded illnesses your child can catch. But wait! Do they have strep or just a garden variety sore throat? It can be tough to tell, especially in the early stages of strep. Fortunately, we’ve broken down signs to look for and steps to take if your child ends up with strep throat. And believe it or not, the process is fairly simple.
Signs of Strep Throat
1. Red and White Patches in the Back of the Throat
This is one of the most obvious signs that your child may have strep throat. Simply look in the back of their throat, and determine if there are any red or white patches. This sign of infection is pretty limited to this contagious illness. If this is the case, your child most likely does have strep throat. However, there are other signs to watch for as well.
2. Difficulty When Swallowing
This symptom might be a little tougher to determine, especially since you can’t feel what your child’s feeling. If your child has completely lost their appetite or is taking a much longer time than usual to swallow, then strep throat is certainly a possible cause.
3. Getting a Headache
Ordinary sore throats are caused by a virus, which can involve having a headache. This can be the case with strep throat as well. If your child has a persistent headache and a sore throat, then it might be time to call his or her pediatrician.
4. Swollen Lymph Nodes and Enlarged Tonsils
There is a lot of swelling that comes with having strep throat. There are lymph nodes on either side of your child’s neck, where you can gently check for swelling. If this is accompanied by swollen or bright red tonsils, then your child could have strep throat.
Fever is a universal sign that your child’s body is trying to fight an infection. If your child experiences any of the above symptoms accompanied by a fever, then a case of strep throat is the likely culprit. Track their temperature so that you can be prepared to give this information to their pediatrician.
6. Stomach Pain and Nausea
If in the middle of all these other symptoms, your child complains of an upset stomach or that they “want to throw up.” it is definitely time to call the doctor. This is not a typical case of having a sore throat.
7. Prolonged Sore Throat
Finally, it’s good to note that if your child has any of these symptoms and a sore throat for more than 3 days, it’s probably best to call their pediatrician. It’s better to catch an infection early than let it spread to the rest of your family.
How to Help Your Child When They May Have Strep Throat
1. Call Their Pediatrician
Your child will need antibiotics if they have strep. Pain relievers will only minimize their pain and discomfort, not eliminate infection. Get an appointment with their pediatrician as soon as you can, so they can be tested for strep. Here at Provo Pediatrics we put great effort in caring for a sick child. You child will be tested for strep by getting a sample via swab from the back of his or her throat.
Strep throat is a contagious infection that must be handled effectively as soon as possible.