At this time of year, strep throat is running rampant through the schools and your community. Every sniffle, sneeze, and cough has you on full alert as you start to plan when you can fit a visit to your family doctor into your already packed schedule. You hate to take them in if it’s just a cold or minor bug, but you know strep throat can be miserable and spread like wildfire throughout your family. So you stay alert, watching your child for tell-tale symptoms of strep throat. But how do you know when it’s time to call the doctor?
5 Tell-Tale Symptoms of Strep Throat
As you know, many things can cause your child to have a sore throat. Most are minor, such as a common cold, allergies or a virus and can be managed at home. But a sore throat caused by the bacteria Streptococcus A bacterium is strep throat and must be treated by antibiotics.
Any combination of the following symptoms, along with a sore throat, is worth a trip to the doctor:
1) Swollen Lymph Nodes
If you have your child look up and feel the sides of their neck, you may notice their lymph nodes are larger than normal and very tender when touched.
2) Red Spots at the Back of the Mouth and Swollen Tonsils
Typically the doctor will want to take a swab of your child’s throat to check for strep. But if they see red spots at the back of their throat, they may already be convinced before the positive result appears.
In response to the infection, your child’s tonsils (if they still have them) will swell. This, combined with the rawness of their throat will make it hard to swallow anything – even saliva.
3) Nausea or Vomiting
Initially, nausea and vomiting may have you convinced that your child has a stomach bug. But these symptoms are very common with strep throat, especially in younger children.
4) Headaches and/or Body Aches
Among the lesser known symptoms of strep throat are accompanying headaches or body aches. Along with their antibiotic, the doctor may advise you to manage this pain with ibuprofen or acetaminophen until it subsides.
5) Fever (101 or Higher)
Although all strep throat cases won’t come with a fever at all, if your child has a fever over 101 and other classic symptoms of strep throat, the diagnosis is very likely.
Strep Throat is No Joke
Strep throat is not an illness to take lightly. It typically comes on suddenly and spreads very quickly. Not only can the symptoms of strep throat make your child miserable, but if left untreated, it could lead to something more serious. At Conroe Wills Family Medicine, we want to help you keep your family well. If you believe that one or more of your children are suffering from the symptoms of strep throat, call us to schedule an appointment so we can get them treated right away!