Everything You Need To Know About Strep And Rapid Pediatric Strep Exams

If you are a parent, you may have heard of strep throat. While you may be aware of strep, not everyone knows exactly what it is or how to spot the symptoms. Here is what you need to know about strep throat, from who is susceptible to what tests you can take to diagnose it.

What Is Strep?

Group A Streptococcus is a type of bacteria that causes infections like strep throat, scarlet fever, and rheumatic fever. It can be spread through contact with saliva and mucus from an infected person or contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs or toys. The most common symptom associated with strep infections is a sore throat.

Who Is Susceptible to Strep?

Anyone can get strep throat. However, children are much more likely to contract the infection than adults. It's important to note that not all sore throats are caused by strep. Some may be caused by viruses or allergies. Strep is highly contagious, and seeking professional medical attention is important. A doctor can accurately diagnose whether it's strep or something else.

What Are the Symptoms of Strep?

The most common symptom of strep throat is a sore throat, but your child may also experience any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck area
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Body aches
  • Vomiting
  • Rash (in some cases)

While some of the above symptoms are similar to other issues, like the flu, strep is best identified with a rapid pediatric strep exam.

What Is a Rapid Pediatric Strep Exam?

While you may note strep symptoms, you still need to verify that your child has strep. A rapid pediatric strep exam is a quick test used to detect streptococcal bacteria in children. The rapid pediatric strep test involves taking a swab sample from the back of the nose or throat. Instead of sending it off for laboratory analysis and waiting a day or two for results, the rapid test lets parents know if their child has strep within a few minutes. This quick turnaround time makes a rapid pediatric strep test ideal for parents.

Knowing more about strep is important when caring for your child's health. If you suspect your child may have contracted this bacterial infection, talk to your doctor about a rapid pediatric strep exam so that they can start treatment immediately. With this knowledge firmly tucked away in your parental toolkit, you now know what steps need to be taken the next time your child complains of a sore throat.