Information about Strep Throat
What causes it?
Strep throat is caused by Streptococcus bacteria that are passed around through nose and mouth droplets. It is very common in children and is characterized by a very red, painful throat often accompanied by fever, tender and swollen lymph nodes, headache, and stomachache. Sometimes a strep throat will be accompanied by coughing, or, less often, a runny nose. Strep throat can occur at any age, but is most common among school-aged children, during the colder months, and in crowded situations. It is transmitted from one person to another through respiratory secretions. People with strep throat are generally not infectious until their symptoms appear. They continue to be infectious until they have received treatment for a day or so.
How is it diagnosed and treated?
Throat cultures are used to diagnose strep infections. Rapid tests are now available through health care providers but should be followed up with a culture due to the varying sensitivity. Strep infections are usually treated with an oral antibiotic. It is very important that your child receives treatment, since if not treated or not treated long enough, your child may continue to spread the infection to other members of your family or to other children. Rarely, some children with untreated strep throat later develop rheumatic fever, or abnormalities of the heart valves and inflammation of the joints.
How can it be prevented?
Hand washing and cleanliness are essential to stop the spread of all respiratory tract illnesses. Encourage students to cough into their elbow and to wash their hands after wiping or blowing noses; after contact with any nose, throat or eye secretions; and before eating food.
When can your child return to school?
Your child may return to school after taking the prescribed medication for at least 24 hours and if the fever has been gone for 24 hours, without the use of Tylenol or other fever-reducing medications. It is very important to finish all the medication even if you are feeling better.
Please notify the health office if your child is diagnosed with strep throat.