Is your child complaining of a sore throat? Don’t be too quick to assume it’s a virus. A new study shows that a child’s sore throat is due to a Strep infection more commonly than previously thought. Even some healthy children without symptoms can be carriers of Strep bacteria.
Is It Strep Throat?
A new study published in the journal Pediatrics showed that the number of children who are carriers of Strep is surprisingly high. In fact, one out of eight children, without any sore throat symptoms, harbors the Group A Strep bacteria that causes Strep throat.
What about kids who have a sore throat? How likely is it to be Strep? According to meta-analysis of twenty-nine different studies, the chance of a child’s sore throat being Strep is about one out of three. The risk is slightly lower in children under the age of five - with about a one in four chance of having Strep.
What are Typical Strep Throat Symptoms in Kids?
A child with Strep throat may experience a fever, difficulty swallowing, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, headache, a rash, severe throat pain, and fatigue. Their temperature can range from low-grade to quite high, depending on the age of the child. A child doesn’t have to have all of these symptoms to have Strep throat – and the symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from those of a viral sore throat.
Is It Strep Throat: Why It’s Important to Know
Untreated Strep throat can lead to such serious complications as rheumatic fever, meningitis, kidney problems, toxic shock syndrome, and pneumonia. These complications can be prevented with prompt antibiotic treatment, which is the main reason why it’s important to treat sore throats that are due to Strep.
Is It Strep Throat: How to Know
The only way to know for sure whether a child has Strep throat is to get a throat culture or have a doctor run a rapid Strep test in the office. The rapid Strep test is quicker, but it can miss up to thirty percent of Strep throats.
Strep Throat Symptoms in Kids: The Bottom Line?
This study reaffirms the importance of taking Strep throat symptoms in kids seriously. The chance of a child with a sore throat having Strep is relatively high, and even though complications are rare, the potential still exists. Don’t take a chance with your child’s health. If your child complains of a sore throat, get him checked by a doctor.
Medscape.com. "More Than a Third of Kids With Sore Throat Likely Have Strep: Study"