Strep Throat In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Strep throat is a throat infection caused by bacteria. It is easily spread from person to person.
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines are given to decrease your child's pain and fever. They can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine is safe to give your child, and how often to give it.
- Antibiotics: This medicine will help kill the bacteria that cause strep throat. Give your child this medicine exactly as ordered by his primary healthcare provider. Do not stop giving your child the antibiotics unless directed by his primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or give your child leftover antibiotics that were given to him for another illness.
- Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not helping or if he has side effects. Tell your child's healthcare provider if your child takes any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines he takes. Include the amounts, and when and why he takes them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
Manage your child's symptoms:
- Give your child crushed ice, hard candy, cough drops, or throat lozenges to suck on if he is 3 years old or older.
- Give your child juice, milk shakes, tea, or soup if his throat is too sore to eat solid food.
- Give your child a small amount of salt water to gargle. Mix ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of warm water to make salt water.
Return to school:
Your child may return to school 24 hours after he starts antibiotic medicine and when his fever has been gone for a day.
Prevent the spread of strep throat:
- Do not let your child share food or drinks.
- Wash your child's hands often.
- Replace your child's toothbrush after he has taken antibiotics for 24 hours.
- Keep your child away from people who are sick.
Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:
- Your child has a fever after taking antibiotics for 2 days.
- Your child's signs and symptoms continue for more than 5 to 7 days.
- Your child has a rash that is itchy or swollen.
- Your child is tugging at his ears or has ear pain.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child cannot drink anything because of the pain.
- Your child is drooling because he cannot swallow his spit.
- Your child cannot open his mouth all the way or his voice is muffled.
- Your child has trouble breathing because his throat is swollen.
- Your child has blue lips or fingernails.
- Your child's urine has blood in it, or his face, hands, or feet are swollen.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.