KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It’s one of the most common childhood illnesses and it fills up doctors’ offices and hospital waiting rooms – we’re talking about strep throat.
Dr. Julia Arana with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital stopped by the WATE 6 On Your Side studios to share more about the fast-spreading, highly contagious illness.
How strep throat spreads
Dr. Arana says sneezing, coughing, and shaking hands can easily spread infection from one person to another. Someone whose strep throat isn’t treated is most likely to spread infection when symptoms are most severe, but can still infect others for up to 3 weeks. Best prevention is frequent, thorough hand washing and stay home when you are sick.
Signs and symptoms
- Stomach Pain
- Sore throat with red, swollen tonsils
- White or yellow dots may be visible on tonsil as well as red spots in the roof of child’s mouth
Does strep throat need to be seen by a doctor?
Yes — strep is caused by a type of bacteria which requires treatment with antibiotics to get rid of the infection. If not treated, strep can lead to complications like kidney inflammation and rheumatic fever.
What about care at home?
- Home care
- Give plenty of liquids
- Avoid orange juice and other acidic beverages. Warm liquids like soup, tea and hot chocolate can be soothing
- Take all medication
- Don’t be tempted to stop antibiotics when child feels better
- Doctor will advise when child should return to normal activities
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