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Strep Throat Info

What is strep throat?
Strep throat is an infection caused by the Streptococcus pyogenese (strep) Group A bacteria. the infection is more common in children than in adults. The incubation period is usually 2 - 7 days after exposure.

What are the symptoms of strep throat?
Children with strep throat often have a fever and complain of sore throat, headache, earache and stomach. Nausea and vomiting may occur, a "bad" breath odor is sometimes noted. Symptoms and severity can vary. Children with strep may also have swollen, tender glands in the neck, or sores around the nose. Scarlet fever, a rare form of strep infection, is characterized by a sore throat, more general symptoms, such as fatigue, and a red rash on the body that feels like sandpaper. complications affecting the heart and kidneys can occur if the strep is not treated completely with antibiotics.

How is strep throat transmitted?
The strep bacteria is found in an infected person's saliva. The infection spreads through the air when the infected person talks, coughs or sneezes. The spread of infection can be stopped by treating the infected person with an antibiotic. Children with strep throat are contagious until 24 hours after their first dose of antibiotics.

Diagnosis and Treatment...
It is difficult to diagnose strep throat just by looking at the throat. The tonsils and back of the throat may be red, swollen, and dotted with dark red sports, or with white or yellow specks of pus. The physician has to take a culture (or swab) of the throat to see if strep bacteria are present. If strep throat is diagnosed, the physician will prescribe an antibiotic. If treatment is begun soon after the infection has started, the child will feel better very soon. This treatment may also prevent the serious complications that can result from strep throat. Your doctor may also recommend, Tylenol or Ibuprofen for pain and fever; lots of fluid (not acidic); lozengers, teas, salt water gargles, a cool mist humidifier, or a warm moist towel, placed on the neck for sore, swollen throat and glands.

Prevention measure include:
*Avoid close contact with the infected person.
*Washing glasses, utensils, etc. in hot soapy water.
*Not sharing glasses, utensils, food, personal items and towels
*Keep toothbrushes separated and replace your child's toothbrush 24-48 hours after starting the antibiotic. (Bacteria can live int eh toothbrush and re-infect when antibiotics are done.)
*Wash hands frequently wit soap and warm water using friction or rubbing the wrists, hands and fingers for 30 seconds (sing "Happy Birthday")

What can parents do?
*Strep throat is contagious. You can check with your school nurse to discuss the incidence of strep in the school.
*Watch your child for signs of strep throat if another child has it.
*Encourage proper dental hygiene and gargling with slat to prevent infection.
*If you suspect your child has strep throat, contact your physician. If your child has strep throat, your physician will start antibiotic treatment according to the culture results. Be sure you give your child all the antibiotic, otherwise the infection may not be completely cured!
*Remember, hand washing is important to prevent spread of the infection, especially ater wiping the child's nose and before eating or preparing food. Teach your child to cover his or her mouth when sneezing or coughing. Remind your family to keep their fingers out of their mouth, nose and eyes.
*If your child has trep throat, he/she should not return to child care or to school until antibiotic treatment has been taken for at least one full day (24 hours) and he/she is fever free for 24 hours and symptoms have subsided along with a return of energy.