An occasional sore throat is usually nothing to be concerned about, but severe throat pain could be a sign of strep throat. If you are concerned about your child’s throat pain, the team at Annandale Pediatrics in Annandale, Virginia, can provide compassionate diagnostic and treatment services, giving you the answers you need to help your child feel better as quickly as possible. Scheduling takes just moments online or over the phone.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that affects your child’s throat and tonsils. It’s caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. While viruses cause most pediatric throat pain, a strep throat infection can lead to severe discomfort and potential complications.
The bacteria that cause strep throat spread from one person to the next through droplets from a cough or sneeze. If your child touches an object that an infected person has left droplets on, or breathes in droplets in the close vicinity of an infected person, they can develop the condition and spread it to others.
There is no way to accurately diagnose strep throat with a simple physical examination. The only way to be sure if strep throat is causing your child’s symptoms is to receive a special throat swab test.
This is a rapid antigen test and determines if there are strep bacteria present in your child’s throat. The results are available immediately. A throat culture might also be needed to confirm a strep throat infection, but it takes a couple of days to get the results from the lab.
The most common symptom is persistent throat pain, which usually develops over a short period of time. Additional symptoms include:
These symptoms are not limited to strep throat and could indicate another condition. The best way to determine the source of discomfort is to come in for a thorough diagnostic examination. Your child’s pediatrician will then discuss treatment options, the most common of which is a course of antibiotics.
Strep throat is extremely contagious, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk that others in your family will become infected. Discuss the importance of handwashing, and give your kids a quick demonstration to remind them of how long to wash and how vigorously they should wash their hands.
If soap and water are not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a good alternative. It is also important to avoid sharing glasses, bottles, utensils, or even plates with a family member who has strep throat. Teaching your kids to cough and sneeze into tissues or their elbow is also a good way to reduce the risk of transmission.
If your child is experiencing a severe sore throat or a combination of disruptive symptoms, call Annandale Pediatrics today or use the online booking tool to schedule a visit.