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Strep Throat in Children

How Is Strep Throat in Children Treated?

Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. Not only do they decrease the chances for complications, but they also help decrease the severity and length of symptoms.
In most cases, penicillin is the typical antibiotic of choice for treating strep throat. It is effective, safe, and inexpensive. Penicillin may be given as pills that are taken for 10 days, or in the form of a shot.
Children may be prescribed amoxicillin instead of penicillin. The liquid form of amoxicillin is easier for children to swallow and can also help treat a coexisting middle ear infection (otitis media), which occurs in up to 15 percent of children diagnosed with strep throat.
There are other antibiotic choices for people who are allergic to penicillin (see Strep Throat Antibiotics).
Within 24 hours of starting antibiotics, a child's temperature should drop. After two or three days, other symptoms of strep throat should start to improve. He or she can return to school after being on antibiotics for 24 hours. At this time, the child is no longer contagious.
They should still finish their antibiotics, though. Stopping the treatment too early or skipping a dose could allow the bacteria to become resistant to the medication, which could allow the infection to spread. This may require longer treatment.
(Click Strep Throat Treatment for more information, including how to treat the symptoms of a sore throat.)
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