Strep throat is a bacterial infection that inflames the throat. While anyone can contract it, the condition is much more common in children than adults. If you're a caregiver to a little one with strep, it's important to understand some of the basics about the infection so you can best support their health and the healing process. Below, learn more about strep, its causes and symptoms, and how to treat it.
Group A Streptococcus bacteria is the cause of strep throat. It flourishes in the nose and throat, which allows it to spread through coughing and sneezing. When another person inhales the bacteria, or they touch an object that contains the bacteria before touching their mouth or nose, they will often contract this health issue.
The primary symptom of strep is a sore, scratchy throat, which tends to come on fairly quickly. Also common are pain or difficulty swallowing, fever, chills, and a reduction in appetite. The infection can sometimes be seen when looking at the throat; it will swell or redden the tonsils or produce white spots on them.
Because strep is a bacterial infection, it needs to be treated with antibiotics. If you're a caregiver to a child who has a sore throat, always take them to the doctor for a throat swab, which will tell you whether the strep bacteria are present. Make sure the child completes the full course of antibiotics, even if they feel better and have made a full recovery.
For caregivers looking to ease the discomfort of a child's sore throat, sipping warm liquids can be comforting. Choose a decaffeinated tea, hot water with lemon, or warm apple cider. Sore throat sprays and lozenges will help numb the throat and make the pain easier to manage. Eating regular meals may be painful when dealing with strep, so serve softer foods like soups, puddings, popsicles, and ice cream.
Finally, make sure they get plenty of rest, set up a dehumidifier in their room, and have them gargle salt water every few hours.
If you need help looking after a child with strep, contact J&D Ultracare. Our caregivers are pediatric nurses who provide specialized care to children in the comfort of each patient’s home. Since 1985, we have been serving families throughout the Rockland, Westchester, Monroe, and Orange counties, NY. Call (845) 357-4500 or visit our website to learn more about our pediatric home care services.