Strep throat is a bacterial infection that affects the tonsils and throat. It makes a person’s throat feel scratchy and sore. If untreated, it can lead to severe complications like rheumatic fever and kidney inflammation. While this condition is common among adults, it may be even more common among children, especially ones who are frequently around other children at school or who are involved in youth sports programs.
8 Signs Your Child has Strep Throat
Nevertheless, listed below are some signs that your child may have strep throat.
Sore throat is the main symptom of strep throat. Your child will have problems swallowing or even feel some scratching in the throat. Also, the throat and tonsils may look inflamed and red. White patches may also appear on the tonsils and throat.
Fever, a sudden rise in body temperature, is a typical symptom of many infections. When it comes to strep throat, your child may experience extremely higher than average body temperatures. Often, fever is worse on the second day of infection, and it may start to return to normal afterward.
Pain in the lower stomach, also known as abdominal pain, is another common strep throat symptom. This symptom frequently appears in young boys, and your child may experience nausea.
Chills denote a feeling of being cold without an underlying reason. A person gets this feeling whenever the muscles continually contract and expand, and the skin vessels constrict. Sometimes, fever may accompany chills, leading to shaking and shivering. The chills in the child’s body can be constant, and every episode may last for up to an hour.
Headache is a common condition that leads to discomfort and pain in the head, neck, or scalp. Most headaches are mild, but in some cases, they can result in extreme pain that makes it hard to concentrate in school or perform daily chores. So, consider visiting a medic if your child experiences regular headaches.
A loss of appetite occurs when the child has a decreased desire to eat. While physical and mental illnesses lead to poor appetite, other conditions like strep throat can decrease your child’s appetite. Loss of appetite can result in other related symptoms like malnutrition and weight loss. If left untreated, it can be a serious condition. Therefore, you should consider discovering the right reason behind the child’s reduced appetite and treat it.
Lymph Node Inflammation on the Neck
Your child can get swollen lymph nodes on the neck for various reasons, such as being due to a virus infection. The common cold is one of the main reasons why lymph nodes become swollen. Swollen lymph nodes can lead to other symptoms based on the cause of the inflammation. These symptoms include runny nose, fever, limb swelling, sore throat, and night sweats.
Difficulty in Swallowing
Swallowing difficulty is the incapacity to swallow liquids or food easily. Children who have difficulties in swallowing may choke on their liquid or food when attempting to swallow. Although this symptom is not always an indication of strep throat, it’s always advisable to confirm whether that is the case with your medic.
Strep Throat Diagnosis
Your physician will assess your child’s throat and check for inflammation signs. The doctor might also examine the neck for swollen lymph nodes and inquire about other symptoms. Should the doctors suspect strep throat, they may perform a rapid strep test using special tools like those offered by Pro Labs. This test shows whether a strep infection or other bacteria cause a sore throat in your child.
Preventing Strep Throat
Although strep throat is a common infection among children, it can still be prevented. Teach your children the importance of washing their hands with antibacterial soap before eating or after doing any type of activity that may leave their hands covered in germs. Also, provide your child with a well-balanced diet. Most children love to snack on unhealthy foods like chips, cookies, and candy. While these treats are okay in moderation, encouraging a diet of fruits and vegetables (particularly those high in vitamin C and D) will build your child’s immune system, making them less susceptible to strep throat and other illnesses and infections.
If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above in your child, schedule an appointment with your child’s pediatrician or a family doctor to get a strep test. It’s sensible to have a throat swab test done on your child to confirm the presence or absence of strep bacteria because other viral illnesses have similar symptoms as strep throat. All in all, take note of these symptoms in your child so that they can receive proper treatment and feel better.
About the Writer: Amy Sloane is an alum from Oregon State University and spends her free time as a freelance writer and knitting enthusiast. Amy loves reading, cooking, and spending time with her dog, Molly.