Strep throat is very common among kids and teens. Symptoms of strep throat include fever, stomach pain, and red, swollen tonsils. Not all sore throats are strep.
- Strep throat usually requires treatment with antibiotics.
- Anybody can get strep throat, but it's most common in school-age kids and teens. These infections occur most often during the school year when big groups of kids and teens are in close quarters.
- The bacteria that cause strep throat (group A streptococcus) tends to hang out in the nose and throat, so normal activities like sneezing, coughing, or shaking hands can easily spread infection from one person to another. That's why it's so important to teach kids the importance of hand washing — good hygiene can lessen their chances of getting contagious diseases like strep throat.
Prevent your sick child from spreading strep throat to others in your home. Keep his or her eating utensils, dishes, and drinking glasses separate from those that everyone else is using. Wash them in hot, soapy water after each use. Also, make sure your child doesn't share food, drinks, toothbrush, napkins, handkerchiefs, or towels with other family members.
Make sure your child covers his or her mouth and nose during a sneeze or a cough to prevent passing infectious fluid droplets to someone else. Also, throw out your child's toothbrush after the antibiotic treatment has been started and he or she is no longer contagious, and make sure your child uses a new one.