Has this illness recently hit your household?

Has this illness recently hit your household?

Viral and bacterial illnesses don’t only occur in the fall. Places like daycares, summer camps and group activities provide ample opportunity for germs to spread. One infection you may be hearing about is strep throat.

Caused by group A Streptococcus, strep throat is a throat and tonsil infection that can spread through direct contact with a sick individual or respiratory droplets.

“It can be hard for young children to describe exactly what they are feeling. But most people with strep throat will express having pain swallowing, fever and swollen tonsils,” explains Dr. Emma Olivera, a pediatrician at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “Your child is likely not sick with strep throat if they are exhibiting other common signs of illness such as a harsh cough, wheezing or runny nose.”

Dr. Olivera says the best way to know if your child has strep throat is to schedule an appointment with their pediatrician. They will perform a physical exam and either a rapid strep test or a throat culture. If a child tests positive for strep throat, it’s important that they begin antibiotic treatment quickly because, if left untreated, group A strep can lead to serious illness, including rheumatic fever. This is a dangerous disease that can cause inflammation of the heart, blood vessels and joints.

“After starting antibiotics, your child should start feeling better within 24-48 hours. Be sure to complete the entire course of antibiotics even if your child is feeling better,” says Dr. Olivera. “As with all illnesses, do your best to keep your child rested, comfortable and hydrated.”

When it comes to protecting your family from strep throat and sickness year-round, practice good hand hygiene.

“Cover your cough and sneeze appropriately, keep your child home from school and activities when they are sick, and remember to wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” Dr. Olivera says.

Are you trying to find a pediatrician?Look here if you live in Illinois.Look here if you live in Wisconsin.

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About the Author

Holly Brenza
Holly Brenza

Holly Brenza, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator on the content team at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, Holly enjoys reading, watching the White Sox and Blackhawks, playing with her dog, Bear and running her cats' Instagram account, @strangefurthings.