Is It Strep Throat?

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I know, pussy white tonsils, just what you want to hear about.  We all wonder when kids have a sore throat — is it strep?  Is it going to get worse?  Could it be dangerous?

You can't help but wonder is it strep when you have a child with a sore throat (or even you!)  here are some symptoms to look for, or take heart in?

Sometimes the symptoms of strep, especially in children can be masked.  In adults it’s just the usual REALLY painful sore throat.  Get out a flashlight, open wide, say ahhhh and check down that throat of yours (or have your spouse do it).  Instead of looking red, it will look white.  You could also try this in a cooperative child (sometimes it’s good to do this when you’re healthy also, just to have a good idea on what regularly lurks down there).

Kid symptoms include:

1.  Nausea and vomiting (fun, I know)
2.  Headaches
3.  Sometimes rashes, but if that’s the case you need to be seen by a doctor.

Do your child have a cough?  It is likely not strep.  Strep doesn’t feel like a cold, it feels like a VERY sore throat, and possibly the other symptoms.  If your kid has classic cold symptoms (runny nose, cough, etc.) it is likely not strep.  Unless, they have strep AND a cold — the double whammy.

Strep, left untreated can turn into bigger issues that can lead to heart issues.  When my kids have a lingering sore throat I first check their throat.  If I see white patches I take them in for a culture.  Cultures are often free, depending on your insurance coverage.  Most doctors offices will allow you to just get a culture and not see the doctor (and frankly, if yours won’t I’d think about finding another doctor, that’s just lame).  **I have lately found this to NOT be true, and have found a work-around, for those who are willing to swab their own family.

There are two types of tests, the rapid strep — which results can be told within 5 minutes, and then an overnight strep where you have to wait til’ the next day.  Personally, I enjoy a doctor who takes 2 swabs (which can be done simultaneously).  Then, if the rapid strep is negative they culture it out just to be sure.  Sadly, Kaiser doesn’t agree with me on this point, as the overnight strep is the true standard.

Strep is treated most often by your doctor with penicillan.  It’s cheap and effective.  You need to be sure to take all of the medication prescribed to you, and not stop once the sore throat is gone.  Just because you start the antibiotics, it may still take a few days for the extreme throat pain to stop.  In the meantime you can take over the counter tylenol or ibuprofen, gargle with salt water or take lozenges as directed.  And of course, just like I always say.  LOTS OF FLUIDS.  Really, water can solve almost anything.  Except teething.  Booo…. :)

If you liked this post, you might like to read about ear infections, fevers, broken bones or any of my other TMI posts.  If you’re on Pinterest, check out my Health and Wellness board!

Hilary is an RN, BSN who has worked in various medical fields for the past 12 years, however, none of the information on this blog, should be substituted for the care of a physician. The information provided on this blog is informational only and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. You have instinct, use it — and use it wisely. If you have questions, please ask your doctor. If you think you have a medical or psychiatric emergency, please call 911. Also, please don’t delay contacting a physician due to something you have read on here. Pulling Curls doesn’t takeresponsibility for your health. That’s your job. We’re just a nice read.

Pulling Curls blog by Hilary EricksonCheck out Hilary's Most Popular Posts ~ Learn more About Hilary

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  1. says

    Good info. Might have saved me a trip to the doctor the other day. Although she was so sick I probably would have gone anyway, even if I was sure it wasn’t actually strep.


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