Is Your Child Sick?TM


Strep Throat Exposure

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Close contact with someone who has a Strep throat infection.
  • Close contact means living in the same house with the infected person. It also includes close physical contact such as having a kissing relationship.

If NOT, try one of these:


Strep Exposure (Close Contact)

  • Household Close Contact. Lives with a person whose Strep test was positive. This can be a sibling, parent, or other household member.
  • Kissing relationship with someone (boyfriend, girlfriend) who has a positive Strep test.
  • Close contact should be within 10 days of onset of symptoms in exposed child. Reason: Time from contact to Strep symptoms usually is 2 to 5 days.
  • Throat cultures and rapid Strep tests aren't urgent. Most can be done in your doctor's office.

Types of Limited Contact with Strep

  • Contact with someone outside the home with a positive Strep test. This type of contact occurs at school.
  • Sometimes, the contact is with someone who was treated for Strep without testing.
  • Children taking antibiotics for over 24 hours do not spread Strep to others.

When to Call for Strep Throat Exposure

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Great trouble swallowing fluids or spit
  • Trouble breathing or working hard to breathe
  • Fever over 104° F (40° C)
  • Dehydration suspected. (No urine in over 8 hours, dark urine, very dry mouth and no tears)
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent. (Note: a Strep test alone is not urgent)

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Sore throat pain is severe and not better 2 hours after taking ibuprofen
  • Age less than 1 year old
  • Earache or sinus pain (not just congestion)
  • Mild symptoms that could be from Strep throat. (Some are sore throat, cries during feeds, large lymph nodes in the neck, fever)
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent. (or needs a Strep test)

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Strep contact but no symptoms

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Great trouble swallowing fluids or spit
  • Trouble breathing or working hard to breathe
  • Fever over 104° F (40° C)
  • Dehydration suspected. (No urine in over 8 hours, dark urine, very dry mouth and no tears)
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent. (Note: a Strep test alone is not urgent)

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Sore throat pain is severe and not better 2 hours after taking ibuprofen
  • Age less than 1 year old
  • Earache or sinus pain (not just congestion)
  • Mild symptoms that could be from Strep throat. (Some are sore throat, cries during feeds, large lymph nodes in the neck, fever)
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent. (or needs a Strep test)

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Strep contact but no symptoms

Care Advice

Treatment for Contacts With Symptoms (Pending a Strep Test)

  1. What You Should Know About Strep Exposure and Sore Throats:
    • A Strep test is not urgent.
    • It could be a Strep throat or just a viral infection of the throat.
    • A sore throat is often part of a cold.
    • Until you get a Strep test, here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Sore Throat Relief:
    • Age over 1 year. Can sip warm fluids such as chicken broth or apple juice.
    • Age over 6 years. Can also suck on hard candy or lollipops. Butterscotch seems to help.
    • Age over 8 years. Can also gargle. Use warm water with a little table salt added. A liquid antacid can be added instead of salt. Use Mylanta or the store brand. No prescription is needed.
    • Medicated throat sprays or lozenges are generally not helpful.
  3. Pain Medicine:
    • To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
    • Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
    • Use as needed.
  4. Fever Medicine:
    • For fevers above 102° F (39° C), give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
    • Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
    • Note: Fevers less than 102° F (39° C) are important for fighting infections.
    • For all fevers: Keep your child well hydrated. Give lots of cold fluids.
  5. Fluids and Soft Diet:
    • Try to get your child to drink adequate fluids.
    • Goal: keep your child well hydrated.
    • Cold drinks, milk shakes, popsicles, slushes, and sherbet are good choices.
    • Solids. Offer a soft diet. Also avoid foods that need much chewing. Avoid citrus, salty, or spicy foods. Note: Fluid intake is much more important than eating any solids.
    • Swollen tonsils can make some solid foods hard to swallow.
  6. Return to School:
    • Your child may have a Strep throat infection. Wait for the result of the rapid Strep test. If it is negative, your child can go back to school.
  7. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Your child becomes worse

Treatment for Contacts Without Symptoms

  1. What You Should Know About Strep Exposure Without Symptoms:
    • Many children have contact with someone with Strep throat. Most will not come down with an infection. This is especially true if the contact occurs outside the home.
    • Strep tests are not needed for children without any symptoms.
  2. Time It Takes to Get Strep Throat:
    • Time from contact to Strep symptoms usually is 2 to 5 days.
  3. Return to School:
    • If your child has no symptoms, he does not need to miss any school.
  4. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Your child gets any Strep symptoms in the next 7 days

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Copyright 1994-2017 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC. All rights reserved.

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