How Can You Tell If Your Child Has Strep Throat?

Posted on: 5 March 2016


Strep throat is a common problem for many children at this time of year. Being able to identify the symptoms of strep throat and knowing what to do if your child gets strep throat can help you take proper care of your child during cold and flu season.

How can you tell if your child has strep throat?

Strep throat can be difficult to identify because its symptoms (a sore throat, an achy body, and general discomfort) can resemble viral infections. One of the distinguishing characteristics of strep throat is the quick onset of extreme discomfort in the throat. Whereas a sore throat from a cold or viral infection may build over time, soreness from strep throat can be disturbingly sudden. Other symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Stomach ache
  • Loss of appetite

The only way to tell for sure if your child has strep throat is to have a throat culture done. If your child displays the symptoms of strep throat, don't wait to schedule an appointment with your child's primary care physician. Your child's doctor is the only person who can tell you for sure if your child has strep throat.

How can strep throat be treated?

Beating strep throat requires bed rest, antibiotics and intake of fluids. If your child has strep throat, plan to have your child stay in bed while he or she has a fever. Give your child water or electrolyte-loaded sports drinks, and have your child eat soft, easy-to-digest foods (like tomato soup) when he or she is up to it.

How can your child avoid getting strep throat this winter?  

Strep throat happens a lot during the school year when kids are sharing germs and interacting with other kids. You can help your child avoid getting strep throat by teaching him or her basic hygiene habits. Show your child how to wash his or her hands after going to the bathroom, and remind your child to avoid sharing foods and eating from other children's spoons and forks.

Your child can also help stop the spread of infection by covering his or her mouth while sneezing and coughing. By helping to prevent illness from circulating through the school, your child can become a part of the overall solution to winter cold and flu problems like strep throat.

For more information about strep throat and how you can help protect your child this winter, talk to your child's primary care physician. He or she can help you keep your child safe from strep throat and other illnesses. A physician like those at Rural Health Services Consortium Incor may be able to meet your needs.