Strep throat is an infection caused by bacteria called “group A Streptococcus.” Not all sore throats are strep throat, and most children with strep throat do not have cold symptoms (such as a cough or runny nose).
What are the symptoms of strep throat?
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
NOTE: This type of infection can cause scarlet fever. Symptoms of scarlet fever include a red rash with a sandpapery texture over the entire body, as well as flu-like symptoms.
How does it spread?
- Direct contact
- Indirect contact with germs from the nose or mouth (on hands, toys, tissues, etc.)
- Droplets transmission (when a child coughs or sneezes and droplets reach other children who are close by)
What can you do as a parent to help your child?
- Washing your hands and your child’s hands is the best thing that you can do to stop the spread of germs.
- Teach your child to cover their mouth with a tissue, sleeve, or elbow when coughing or sneezing.
- If your child has fever, give acetaminophen (such as Tempra®) or ibuprofen.
NOTE: The Canadian Paediatric Society does not recommend giving ibuprofen to babies under 6 months old without first talking to your physician.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and fluids.
- Gargling with warm saltwater can help soothe a sore throat.
- See your doctor; strep throat is treated with an antibiotic.
- Keep your child home from childcare or school until they have taken the antibiotic for at least one full day.
- Your child should take all the medication prescribed by the doctor, even if the signs of illness have gone away.