Strep throat is a common childhood illness. It is caused a bacterial infection that inflames tissues in the throat area, causing your child to have pain when swallowing. Even though strep is common, you should take this illness seriously and seek medical treatment if your child has a high fever and complains of a sore throat. Strep infections can have serious complications that affect your child's health for the rest of their life. Follow these care tips to make sure your child gets better.
1. Follow the entire course of antibiotics.
Strep infections need to be treated with antibiotics. After a few days of medication, your child might seem better with no more fever. Even though you can encourage your child to go back to full activity, you should continue giving the medication for all the days prescribed. Strep bacteria can linger, and if they do, they can travel to other tissues in the body and cause more serious illness. Scarlet fever and rheumatic fever are complications from strep infections, and they can damage the valves of the heart and the tissues in major joints.
2. Provide enough fluids.
Your child might not have much an appetite to eat with strep throat, simply because swallowing can be painful. You can control the pain with over-the-counter medications and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. The biggest risk with a reluctance to swallow, however, is lack of fluids. Encourage your child to drink. Sometimes warm drinks can be more appealing and soothing on the throat than cold water. Provide herbal tea with a bit of honey to help with swallowing pain. You can also give nutrition through a straw with smoothies or milkshakes if your child can't handle standard chewing and swallowing.
3. Seek medical help for changes or if the fever does not go away.
Most children get better from strep throat with basic care and medication. However, you should watch for signs that the illness is not going away. If the fever lasts more than a few days or if you notice other signs of illness, call a medical center right away. In particular, be on the lookout for involuntary muscle movements, a raised non-itchy rash that migrates over the body, swelling of the elbows and knees, or a bright red tongue. These are signs of rheumatic fever, which means your child needs immediate medical attention.
For more information on treating strep throat, contact pediatric care providers like those at Port City Pediatrics.