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Is Strep Throat Serious?

Is Strep Throat Serious?

Strep throat causes serious throat pain, fever, and headache. It commonly affects kids, as the bacterial infection spreads quickly when they’re close together, like at school. It spreads when someone who has the infection coughs or sneezes, or if kids share food or drinks. 

Your child may have even picked up strep bacteria from a surface, like a door knob, and then touched their nose, mouth, or eyes. 

Regardless of how your child got strep throat, it’s important to get treated. It can cause serious throat pain and high fevers. It also can lead to long-term complications. 

If you suspect your child has strep throat, contact us at Penguin Pediatrics right away. We run a simple strep test to determine if strep is causing your child’s symptoms or if it’s a viral infection or another illness.

We also offer antibiotics, which clear up symptoms and the infection within a few days. Here’s what you should know about strep throat.

What strep throat is

Often, when you’re suffering a sore throat, it’s a result of a viral infection like a cold or even COVID-19. But strep throat is caused by a bacteria called group A Streptococcus (group A strep). 

If your child has a sore throat accompanied by a cough, runny nose, or pink eye -- it’s likely a viral infection and NOT strep throat. But a sore throat that came on quickly with fever, swollen tonsils, and inflamed lymph nodes is likely strep. 

If there’s a strep outbreak at your child’s daycare or school, know that it takes 2-5 days after exposure for symptoms to start.

Can I just let strep throat resolve on its own?

Strep throat can make your child feel pretty miserable. Plus, it can cause serious complications. Though rare, these aren’t health issues you want your child to suffer. 

They include:

Since testing and treatment for strep throat is simple and easy, it just makes sense to bring your child in if they have symptoms of the infection.

How strep throat is diagnosed and treated

We offer a rapid antigen test using a sample obtained from your child’s throat. We simply use a swab to obtain a few cells and then test them for the strep bacteria. Results are available in just a few minutes.

If your child really seems to have symptoms of strep but the rapid test is inconclusive, we may do a throat culture. We’ll send a sample of your child’s throat secretions to a laboratory for analysis. Results won’t be ready for a day or two.

If your child has strep, it’s important they stay home until they no longer have a fever and have taken antibiotics for at least 12 hours. Remember, your child will start to feel better within a few doses of their antibiotics but it’s important they take all 7-10 days worth of medication. 

If you suspect your child has strep throat, contact Penguin Pediatrics right away to schedule a sick visit. Call one of our offices in Stone Ridge or Ashburn, Virginia, or use the online booking tool to make an appointment.

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