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Ever wondered if your child needs an ANTIBIOTIC for every throat pain?

If No, you should, as every throat pain doesn’t require ANTIBIOTICS.

Antibiotics are necessary only if the throat pain is a STREP THROAT IN KIDS. Otherwise not!

So, what does that mean?

That you should CONFIRM STREP THROAT INFECTION in your child before starting the treatment. Click To Tweet

And how to do that? Can only a DOCTOR confirm Strep throat in kids?

No, you can too, by simply looking at your child’s throat. And this is necessary so that you don’t make your child gobble down unnecessary ANTIBIOTICS (which many doctors prefer for monetary gains).

So, today, I will tell you: The CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, DIAGNOSIS, and the TREATMENT of Strep Throat in kids.


Causes of Throat Pain in Children

Children complain of throat pain due to 3 reasons:

  • Common cold which is usually caused by a virus
  • Strep throat caused by a bacteria
  • Tonsillitis/ enlarged tonsils caused by viruses or bacteria

Note: The term ‘Strep throat’ and ‘Tonsillitis’ are usually used interchangeably. However, both are different. Read about the difference between the two here.

What is a Strep Throat in Kids?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat caused by the bacteria Streptococcus bacteriae.

Responsible for nearly 1/3rd cases of throat pain, it causes the mucous membranes lining the back of the throat to swell up and become sore.


Strep Throat Symptoms in Children

Though anybody can catch the Strep Throat, but children between 2-15 years old are at the highest risk.

The infection spreads from one person to another by sneezing, coughing, or shaking hands with the infected person.


The illness presents as:

  • High fever with chills
  • Swollen and bright red tonsils
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Sore throat/throat pain that comes on quickly
  • Red and white patches in the throat
  • Headache
  • Thickened or bloody nasal discharge
  • Stomach ache and vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Swollen and tender neck glands

Babies below 1 year of age show:

  • Irritability and general fussiness
  • Refusal to breastfeed or drink milk
  • Yellow or green or bloody nasal discharge
  • Decreased appetite
  • Red rash on the legs, arms, and body

How do you know if your child has a Strep Throat?

Besides the Strep throat symptoms, you can easily tell if your child has a Strep throat or the routine viral sore throat.

Ask your child to say Aah! and look into his throat with a torchlight. If you see white patches on his swollen tonsils (as seen below), it confirms the diagnosis of Strep throat.


Your doctor can also perform a SIMPLE test to confirm the diagnosis of Strep throat in kids.

Known as the Rapid Strep Test, it includes collecting a sample of fluids at the back of the throat on a cotton swab and test for the Streptococcus bacteria. It takes ONLY 5 minutes to know if your kid has a Strep throat.

Bottom line?

ALWAYS LOOK into your child’s throat for the white patches and ASK your paediatrician to perform the Rapid Strep Test to confirm Strep throat in kids.

Strep Throat Remedies

Strep throat treatment always comprises of giving ANTIBIOTICS to your child.

Irrespective of whether it’s a viral or a bacterial infection, ALWAYS consult your paediatrician if the child has:

  • High fever > or = 101 degree Fahrenheit
  • Extreme trouble in swallowing
  • Difficulty in breathing

However, mild cases of viral throat infection don’t need any medicines. They resolve on their own or with home remedies.


Follow these Do’s and Don’ts for Strep throat treatment in your child:


2705 - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help) Doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for 10 days. Take the complete course of the antibiotics and do not stop midway even if the symptoms are relieved, otherwise, remaining bacteria will thrive again and worsen the infection.

2705 - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help)Give your child warm liquids like a broth or tea with honey to soothe his throat. If he is old enough to gargle, warm saline gargles are the best. Also, give him plenty of water. You can also use lozenges to soothe his throat.

2705 - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help)Wash your hands before and after preparing food and using the toilet. Encourage the same habit in your kid as well.

2705 - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help)Keep his toys, utensils, dishes, and drinking glasses separate. Wash them with warm water and soap after each use.

2705 - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help)Throw away his used towels and pillowcases in washing during the illness.

2705 - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help)Keep your child at home until he is perfectly well.

2705 - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help) Make sure he covers his face with a tissue while coughing and sneezing.


274E - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help) Give aspirin and related drugs to your child.

274E - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help) Share utensils, water bottles, towels, and toothbrush with him. Once the bout of infection is over, replace your child’s toothbrush to prevent re-infection.

274E - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help) Give cold water and fluids to your child.

274E - How to Know if that Throat Pain is a Strep Throat in Kids (Without Doctor's Help) Give citrus fruits and juices like grapes, oranges, mausambi, etc.

Can you prevent Strep Infection In Kids?

Since children have a developing immune system, preventing Strep throat completely can be difficult.

However, you can reduce the risk by teaching your child a good habit of washing his hands frequently, particularly before a meal, after toilet, and after coming back from outdoors. Learn how to teach the habit of handwashing to your child in 4 simple ways.

If your child catches the Strep throat infection repeatedly, take these steps to boost his immunity and consult a homoeopathic doctor to eradicate this tendency in your child permanently with HOMOEOPATHY.

FAQs about Strep Throat in Kids


Many parents ask these questions about Strep throat in kids:

1.Can you get Strep throat without tonsils?

Strep throat in kids is highly contagious. Though Strep infection causes swelling of the tonsils and the throat, it’s possible to get a Strep throat without tonsils. So, always rely on the Rapid Strep test for a confirmed diagnosis.

2. What to eat during infection?

Since Strep throat causes difficulty in swallowing, it’s best to consume fluids more than the solid foods.

Some best foods to soothe a Strep throat are:

  • Vegetable broth
  • Vegetable soup
  • Oatmeal
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Fresh yoghurt
  • Boiled eggs
  • Mashed potatoes

Once the throat pain subsides and the child is able to eat well, start the solid foods as before.

3. How long should a child stay out of school?

Your child can easily pass off the Strep infection to other kids in school. So, keep him at home till he doesn’t get fever for at least 24 hours after starting the ANTIBIOTICS.

4. Do you always have a fever with Strep throat?

No, it might be possible to have a Strep throat without having a fever. Similarly, it’s possible to have a high fever but no Strep throat.

However, the only way to confirm is the Rapid Strep test.

5. Can Strep throat cause diarrhoea and vomiting?

The common cause of diarrhoea and vomiting in children (referred to as gastroenteritis) is a viral infection. However, sometimes, a Strep Throat can also lead to vomiting and diarrhoea in children.

6.Can Strep throat cause ear pain?

Yes, sometimes, if the infection is severe, it can travel from the throat to the ear causing ear pain.

Read: What to do when a child has ear pain?

Final Words on Strep Throat in Kids

Treating a strep throat in kids is easy, but it’s necessary to find out whether the sore throat is due to the Strep infection or not.

So, always look into our child’s throat with a Torchlight and ask your paediatrician to perform the Rapid Strep Test.

Only when it’s confirmed that your child has a Strep throat, resort to the treatment with ANTIBIOTICS.

Have more questions about Strep throat in kids? Drop them in the comments below, and I will answer them.

Did you find this article useful? Hit the like button and share it within your network. Let other parents also know about strep throat in kids.




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Dr Shivangi Aggarwal

Hi. I am Dr Shivangi Aggarwal, Founder, Mom and Me, practicing as a homoeopathic consultant for child diseases since 10 years. Raising a physically and emotionally healthy child is no less than a challenge today as it is encountered by many hurdles. "Mom and Me" holds your hand to overcome these challenges in the most practical way and give your child a future he will love.


Anshu Bhojnagarwala · October 5, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Glad you wrote on this, Shivangi. A few years ago, I had got a terrible cold – my throat hurt when I swallowed and I coughed up blood. I was sure I had the Strep, but my doc ruled out. Gave me medicine but also advised to take steam inhalation from mouth and drink warm fluids. I didn’t complete the course and got it again after a month. Since then I take these things seriously.

    Dr Shivangi Aggarwal · October 5, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks Anshu! And Yes, health is the foremost thing to take seriously,everytime, everywhere. That’s why I write such articles to create awareness amongst people. Because many doctors today are just driven by monetary gains and won’t share such useful and important info.

Sonia Chatterjee · October 5, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Very glad that you wrote on this. My toddler started preschool couple of months back and for the last one and half months, the kids seem to be developing sore throat, cough and cold on a recurring basis. I’ve been worried about the non stop cough. Your post is really informative and helpful.

    Dr Shivangi Aggarwal · October 5, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Thanks Sonia! If your child is having cough and cold on a recurring basis, its unlikely to be a Strep throat infection. It might be due to allergic causes. Talk to your doctor about that. And try to give a diet rich in Vitamin C to boost your child’s immunity. Well, that reminds me; I will be posting about food as medicine in common childhood illnesses today evening. Do read that, it will be of help to you.

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