Friday, September 6, 2013

Does Your Child Have Strep Throat Or Sore Throat?

If your child is being fussy and complains of a sore throat how do you know if it a sore throat or strep throat? Many parents commonly mistake the symptoms and only realize it when the pain in the throat does not go away and their child develops a fever despite all the home treatments.

Sore Throat Is Completely Different From Strep Throat

A sore throat is caused by a virus and is typically accompanied by a cough, runny nose, red eyes and hoarseness. These symptoms usually clear up on their own in a couple of days even without any medical treatment.

Strep throat on the other hand is caused by the Group A Streptococcus bacteria and will only clear up with the proper antibiotic treatment. A child with this condition will within three days start to develop other symptoms if antibiotic treatment has not been initiated till that time. These symptoms include fever and headache, red or white patches on the tonsils and throat, problems with swallowing, swollen and tender lymph nodes, lack of appetite, enlarged red tonsils.


While a sore throat accompanied by fever and swollen lymph nodes clearly distinguishes strep throat from sore throat, a pediatrician will still want to be absolutely sure before prescribing any antibiotics. Antibiotics are very potent medicines and should not be given unless there is a definite diagnosis and the condition is confirmed.

To do this, the pediatrician will first do a throat culture. This is the most common test for diagnosing strep throat. A throat culture is done by taking a soft cotton swab and dabbing it around the throat and tonsils. The swab is then sent for testing for the presence of strep of any other bacteria.

Another diagnostic test is the Rapid Strep Test or the Rapid Antigen Detection test, commonly known as the RADT. In this test, a RADT kit is used to test the culture, which is taken from the back of the throat or tonsils. This method produces results within few minutes but it is not as precise as the throat culture test.

Prompt Diagnosis And Treatment Is Important

A sore throat may not seem like it requires a visit to the doctor, but the fact is, if it is left untreated for long, your child runs the risk of contracting other complications. Besides, the earlier you get it diagnosed and the sooner you start with the treatment, the faster the symptoms will subside.

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