Strep throat

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?

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • 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.