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Offered by Brighton Pediatrics

Pediatrician examine throat kidWith fall comes multiple illnesses, and a sore throat is a very common symptom experienced by both children and adults. When a child has a sore throat most parents are concerned their child may have “strep throat” (also known as streptococcal pharyngitis).

Typical symptoms of “strep throat” include: sore throat, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, decreased appetite, headache, and enlarged neck glands. As you might have noticed many of these symptoms can also be caused by viruses. The appearance of the throat and tonsils may even be the same for both viral illnesses and “strep throats”! Because of this there is no way to know if a child or adult has “strep throat” without specific testing. This is why doctor’s offices perform testing for “strep throat” before prescribing antibiotics. By far the most common cause of sore throat in both children and adults are viral infections, or “common colds”, which are not helped by antibiotics. “Strep throat” on the other hand is caused by a bacteria which is treatable with antibiotics. Therefore, if the tests do not show someone has “strep throat”, no antibiotics are needed as they will not help with recovery.

If your child has a sore throat there are a few things you can do to help. Tylenol (and/or Motrin if older than 6 months) to help with the pain, lots of cold liquids to keep hydrated, and soft foods that are less painful to swallow.

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