What causes strep throat in children?
The bacteria that cause strep throat (group A Streptococcus) are spread through person-to-person contact. These bacteria are often found in nose and throat fluids, so the infection can be passed from one child to another through sneezing, coughing, shaking hands and sharing food or drink.
Not all sore throats are strep—at most, only about 30 percent of sore throats are caused by infection with group A Streptococcus. Most sore throats, (especially if accompanied by a runny nose and cough), are caused by viruses, not bacteria.
What are the symptoms of strep throat in children?
A child with a strep infection may develop the following symptoms a few days after becoming infected:
- Sore, red throat
- A red, sandpaper-like rash
- Painful or difficulty swallowing
- Fever (usually 101 degrees or higher, depending on age).
- Swollen glands in the neck (lymph nodes)
- Red and enlarged tonsils, possibly with pus or bleeding spots
- Headache and body aches
- Abdominal pain and/or nausea
What complications of strep throat occur in children?
Infection with group A Streptococcuscan affect other parts of a child’s body if left untreated. Major complications associated with a strep infection include:
- Scarlet fever: a condition that occurs when strep throat is accompanied by rash, fever, and other symptoms mentioned above.
- Rheumatic fever: a rare complication of strep throat that can cause damage to the heart
- Acute glomerulonephritis: a kidney problem
- Pneumonia: an infection in the lungs
- Septicemia: an infection of the blood
- Meningitis: an infection of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord