Strep Throat in Children
Strep throat most often affects people between 5 and 15 years old. In children, symptoms of strep throat can include a red and painful throat that begins suddenly, a fever, and white patches on the tonsils or in the throat. This infection is diagnosed using a rapid strep test and/or a culture test. Treatment usually includes penicillin or an oral form of amoxicillin.
Does My Child Have Strep Throat? -- An OverviewStrep throat (acute streptococcal pharyngitis) is a type of throat infection caused by group A streptococcus bacteria (also called GAS or Streptococcus pyogenes). It occurs most often in children between the ages of 5 and 15, although it can occur in adults and younger children also. Strep throat is most frequently diagnosed during the late fall, winter, and early spring.
(Click Strep Throat Causes for more information about group A streptococcus.)
How Common Is Strep Throat in Children?Up to 30 percent of throat infections diagnosed in children between the ages of 5 and 15 are the result of strep throat. Although common, strep throat is not the most likely reason for a sore throat. Up to 50 percent of sore throats are caused by an infection with a virus.
How Is Strep Throat Spread?Strep throat is contagious. The bacteria are transmitted through contact with infected throat mucus, nasal discharge, or saliva. This more commonly occurs in crowded places, such as in school, daycare, or at home. It is not uncommon for older children to bring the infection home from school and infect other younger siblings in the house.
It takes about two to four days after contact with the bacteria for a child to develop strep throat symptoms.
(Click Strep Throat Transmission to learn about specific ways that strep throat is spread.)