A Guide to Good Health

Pediatric Strep Pharyngitis: Clinical Features And Treatment

Pediatric strep pharyngitis refers to an inflamed sore throat caused by the bacteria known as streptococcus. Because symptoms of bacterial strep pharyngitis can be similar to those of a sore throat caused by a viral infection, a throat culture may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis. Here are some clinical features of pediatric strep pharyngitis and treatment options recommended by pediatricians. 

Clinical Features Of Pediatric Strep Pharyngitis

Strep pharyngitis often causes a severe sore throat, fever, headache, difficulty swallowing, nausea, and vomiting. In addition, your child may also experience dental pain, ear pain, coughing, a runny nose, and conjunctivitis. During your child's examination, the pediatrician may notice that the pharynx and tonsils are inflamed and red. In addition, the roof of the mouth may reveal the presence of tiny pinpoint purple dots, known as petechiae. The tonsils may contain pus-filled exudates, which are white or yellow spots caused by bacterial infections, and the lymph nodes may be swollen. In addition, your child may be unable to swallow because of throat pain and inflammation, and because of this, excessive drooling may be noticed.

Treatment For Pediatric Strep Pharyngitis

If your child's throat culture reveals evidence of the streptococcus bacteria, the pediatrician will prescribe antibiotics. Not only do antibiotics shorten the course of the infection, but they also help reduce the risk for complications such as secondary infections and heart valve damage caused by strep-related rheumatic fever.

The antibiotic amoxicillin is typically prescribed for pediatric strep pharyngitis, however, if your child is allergic to amoxicillin or other penicillin-type antibiotics, alternative antibiotics such as clindamycin may be prescribed.

Other supportive treatments for pediatric strep pharyngitis include giving your child plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration caused by fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and poor nutritional intake. Resting and taking over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to reduce fever, ease throat pain, and decrease muscle pain are also recommended. Furthermore, cool compresses placed over the eyes may help ease the irritation and inflammation of conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. If your child is experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms as a result of their strep infection, offer them easy-to-digest and bland foods such as rice, applesauce, bananas, and flavored gelatins. 

If your child develops symptoms of strep pharyngitis, make an appointment with the pediatrician as soon as possible. When strep pharyngitis is diagnosed and treated in its early stages, complications such as secondary infections, prolonged illness, and rheumatic fever will be less likely to occur.