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What are the signs and symptoms of strep throat in children

Thomas L. Moore, M.D.
Board Certified in Family Practice

"Strep throat is most common in children between the ages of 5 and 15. In addition to a very sore throat, symptoms typically include a fever and swollen lymph glands. Younger children may also complain of abdominal pain," says Thomas L. Moore, M.D., who practices family medicine with Baptist Medical Associates.

In general, signs and symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Throat pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks
  • Swollen, tender lymph glands in the neck
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Stomachache and sometimes vomiting, especially in younger children

"It's possible for you or your child to have many of these signs and symptoms but not have strep throat. The cause of these signs and symptoms could be a virus, tonsillitis or other illnesses. That’s why your doctor may test specifically for strep throat," Moore explains.

Proper hand cleaning is the best way to prevent all kinds of infections. That’s why it’s important for parents to teach their children how to wash their hands properly, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

In addition, Moore advises parents to teach their children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. And if your child does have strep throat, be sure no one else uses his or her drinking glass and eating utensils. Wash those items carefully in hot, soapy water or in a dishwasher.