Why is strep throat going around right now? Is it seasonal?
Strep throat is ubiquitous (around all the time). It is more common during late autumn, winter and spring- probably because of close contacts in the schools (the kids spread it to each other).
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms are sore throat and fever. Other associated symptoms are commonly headache, nausea, and tummy aches. It is less likely to have the common cold symptoms such as a cough and runny nose- but you can have these symptoms with strep.
How is it spread?
Strep throat is spread by direct contact with someone who has strep throat. It is spread through respiratory secretions (spit, snot, cough).
What is the best form of treatment?
Strep throat is a bacteria, so it is treated with antibiotics. Treatment of choice is penicillin. You can treat strep throat with amoxicillin, or keflex as well as some others antibiotics.
Does it always require a visit to the pediatrician or can it go away on its own?
You need to see a doctor. The sore throat may go away on its own but the antibiotics are actually to prevent sequelae (a negative aftereffect ) from strep throat such as rheumatic fever.
Are there ways to relieve the symptoms at home before getting in to see a doctor or if a parent prefers not to give antibiotics?
Yes- my favorite- ibuprofen! Or acetaminphen for the pain. Also fluids, and salt water gargles.
Does it affect all ages or are there specific ages where it’s more of a concern?
It is more common in kids over 3 years of age, but it can happen younger.
How can a mom know if her baby has it when obviously the baby can’t say, “My throat hurts?”
Babies/ younger toddlers will seem to be in pain when they are drinking. They may start drinking, then stop in pain.
Can it ever lead to hospitalization?
Yes- sometimes it can lead to abscesses in the throat, and other more serious conditions- luckily these are rare.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes- if your child has a sore throat- make an appointment with your doctor. Strep testing is easy, and strep is usually easy to treat. Take the full course of antibiotics.
And you are contagious until you have had antibiotics for 24 hours, and fever free for 24 hours.
Here’s to staying healthy this winter! Wash your hands, cover your cough, and remember your flu vaccine!!! 🙂 Which has nothing to do with strep!!! 🙂
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Shakha Gillin, M.D., F.A.A.P. attended UCSD for her undergraduate education and medical school (and if she looks familiar that’s because she’s the twin sister of Breezy go-to dermatoligist Dr. Vi). She practiced pediatrics in La Jolla for 5 years before joining El Camino Pediatrics. She has also worked in private practice in Newport Beach and in the Rady Children’s Hospital Emergency Department. Dr. Shakha Gillin has a special interest in preventative care, particularly healthy and active lifestyles for children. She was recognized by San Diego Magazine as a “Top Doctor” in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. She also organizes the North County Pediatric Journal Club, an every other month meeting where local pediatricians discuss the latest pediatric medical topics.