Take a Stand Against Strep Throat

In a list of the most miserable and common health conditions to strike school-age children, strep throat would likely be at the top of the list. Very common among kids and teens, the symptoms of strep throat include fever, red swollen and painful tonsils and stomach pain. Antibiotics are typically required to treat strep throat and, coupled with proper medical care at home, your child’s case of strep throat should resolve itself within a few days.

Because strep throat is extremely contagious, it often occurs during the school year when kids are in close quarters. The infection settles in the nose and throat and is typically spread through sneezing, coughing or shaking hands. This is yet another reason why the importance of hand-washing and good hygiene should be reinforced to your child.

Symptoms of Strep Throat

Just because your child has a sore throat does not mean it’s a strep throat infection. A sore throat is usually accompanied by symptoms of the common cold, such as runny nose or cough, and is caused by viruses. A child stricken with strep throat will usually have difficulty swallowing or speaking. There is often a loss of appetite, feeling of general discomfort, headache, stomach pain, and fever. Strep throat is further defined by red and white patches in the throat and enlarged tonsils – all of which are usually visible. Because it is caused by a bacterial infection, it’s important to call your doctor if you suspect that your child has strep throat. A round of antibiotics will be necessary to treat the condition following a valid diagnosis, which is done by taking a sample of throat fluids using a cotton swab. Symptoms should cease soon after your child starts taking the antibiotics, but that doesn’t mean the infection is out of the park – a strep throat-infected person can be contagious for up to 20 days after symptoms have disappeared, which means it could still spread. It’s important for your child to take all prescribed antibiotics to prevent that from happening.

Preventing Strep Throat

Other common-sense methods of prevention to share with your child: covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing; frequent washing of the hands; and not sharing food, utensils, napkins, towels or other potentially hazardous germ-spreaders. You will also want to throw away your child’s strep throattoothbrush, which could still carry the bacteria, and be on the lookout for symptoms in any of your other children or family members. Strep throat bacteria isn’t something you want passed around.

Remedies for Strep Throat

The best way to care for your child, in addition to going to the doctor and getting antibiotics, is to give plenty of liquids. Strep throat can easily diminish a person’s appetite, making hydrating necessary. Do not give drinks that could burn or irritate the throat, like carbonated sodas or fruit juices, like orange juice or lemonade. Most importantly, make sure your child is comfortable and nurtured until the condition goes away. Strep throat can be a frustrating and painful experience. In such cases, sometimes the best form of medicine is a caring parent.

Conclusion

At one time or another a child is bound to come down with a case of strep throat. Because schools are a breeding ground for viruses, it’s important to remember that the best defense when it comes to preventing getting sick is good hygiene and a proper diet. Making sure to wash your hands throughout the day is an important tip for parents to instill in their kids and it will probably prevent a majority of the illnesses that are floating around. Also, make sure your children start the day before school with a nutritious breakfast and a multi-vitamin. Combined, these two efforts will save you a lot of trips to the family doctor over time and make for a happy household.

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