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When You Should Worry About Strep Throat

When You Should Worry About Strep Throat

Although the flu rightfully gets the headlines during the winter and early spring, there is more than influenza spreading during these months. Although not a virus like the flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), the bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus, or strep throat, similarly thrives during the months when we congregate indoors. 

Thankfully, unlike the flu and RSV, most strep throat cases can be treated with an antibiotic. But if left untreated or in serious cases, strep throat can develop into other infections and inflammatory reactions. For your child, there are signs to look for to know when it’s time to take strep throat more seriously. 

At Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, we offer same day sick visits for children with urgent medical needs, such as treatment for strep throat. We’re dedicated to providing high-quality, comprehensive, coordinated, and compassionate health care to all our young patients.

In this blog, Nicolette Marak, MD, discusses typical symptoms of strep throat, diagnosing strep throat in children, and when you need to worry about your child’s illness. 

Symptoms

Strep throat is common, but the majority of winter sore throats are caused by viral infections. The symptoms of strep throat include: 

Because strep throat shares many symptoms with the flu, sinus infections, and other winter maladies, a quick strep test is often required for diagnosis. 

Diagnosis and treatment

Most children will start to feel under the weather 2-5 days after coming into contact with the bacteria. If your child has symptoms consistent with strep throat, Dr. Marak can perform a quick swab test to diagnose streptococcal infection. The swab can be a little uncomfortable, but it only takes a few seconds. 

If your child has strep throat, Dr. Marak may prescribe penicillin or amoxicillin, which are two common antibiotics that are used to treat strep throat. And, you should make sure your child finishes all of their medication, even if they start to feel better before they finish their medication. Taking all of their antibiotics as prescribed is the only way to help ensure they get fully healthy again.

Complications

If left untreated, or in particularly severe cases, strep throat can lead to secondary infections, such as scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, and kidney inflammation. You should call Dr. Marak or head to the ER if your child has any of the following symptoms:

You should also seek help if pain and fever do not improve after 24-48 hours of antibiotics.

If your child is under the weather, Dr. Marak can help. Call 205-494-7337 to book an appointment with Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics today.

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