Ask The Doctor: Strep Throat in Kids


Strep throat is one of the most common illnesses in kids, accounting for 1 in 4 cases of sore throat illnesses. Because it’s such a common problem, we’re going to take a look at signs and symptoms of strep, diagnosis of strep, home remedies, and how we treat strep here at Pacific Crest Children’s.



What is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial throat infection caused by Group A Streptococcus pyogenes. common questions that OFTEN come up are:

Is strep contagious?


How do you get strep throat?

It’s spread by contact with saliva from an infected person, sharing drinks or eating utensils, etc…

What causes strep throat in children?

Strep throat in children is caused by the same thing as strep in adults: a bacteria called Group A Streptococcus pyogenes.

What is the incubation period for strep throat?

Incubation period refers to how long it takes from exposure to someone with strep until you or your child develop symptoms. The incubation period for strep throat is 2-5 days.

Do toddlers get strep throat?

Yes!  It’s not as common for toddlers but it does happen.

Why does my kid get strep throat all the time? 

It’s hard to say, some kids seem to get it more than others. However, some children are carriers of strep throat bacteria. Interestingly, we think that these children don’t actually get true strep throat, but rather sore throats for other reasons and when they go to their doctor, they get tested and strep is found. At Pacific Crest, we have an easy way to tell if your child is a strep carrier or not.

Ask The Doctor:  Strep Throat in Kids

Symptoms of Strep in Kids

Strep throat in kids can cause a variety of symptoms. The signs of strep throat in children depend on the age of your kiddo.

Signs of Strep in Older Children:

  • White stuff on tonsils.  Pus from the infection gives the tonsils the appearance of being coated with white material

  • Persistent sore throat

  • Sore throat when swallowing

  • Fever

  • Stomach pain

  • Headache

  • Vomiting

Signs of Strep in Toddlers

Largely same as above, though younger children may have the addition of runny nose, cough, and nasal congestion. Infants don’t typically get Strep throat unless they are exposed to an older child with the illness.

Signs of Strep Throat in Infants

Largely can be the same as older children, though like toddlers, strep often has prominent features of a common cold such as cough and runny nose.


If your child has any of the above symptoms, try to take a look a the back of the throat by having your child open their mouth and say “ahhhh.” This sound lifts the roof of the mouth up and makes it easier to see in the back of the throat. If your child has red throat, big tonsils, or white material on their tonsils, it is a good idea to get them checked. Early signs of strep can be just redness in the throat or a general feeling of illness. These signs often precede the other, more dramatic symptoms.
— Dr Corey Fish


Strep Throat Treatment

Strep throat itself often ends up going away on its own. The reason we treat strep throat in kids is to help them feel better faster, to minimize the chance of a complication from strep throat, and because it prevents a rare but very very serious consequence of strep called Acute Rheumatic Fever, which is an immune response that can attack and permanently damage the heart.

The good news is that appropriate antibiotic treatment of strep virtually eliminates this consequence.

There’s no need to rush to an emergency room for strep throat.  Our experts at Pacific Crest Children’s Urgent Care are standing by to diagnose and appropriately treat strep.

Sore Throat Remedies for Kids

There are a variety of strep throat medicines and strep throat relief options available for home care until you can bring your child to see us.

  • Ibuprofen or Tylenol

  • Warm salty liquids like soup or broth

  • Cool fluids or popsicles

Of these treatments, lots of fluid intake is probably the best medicine for strep throat as it will prevent dehydration and also soothe a sore throat, especially the types of fluids listed above.


Pacific Crest Children’s Strep Throat Treatment

Ask The Doctor:  Strep Throat in Kids

At Pacific Crest, we employ in house rapid strep diagnosis. In 5 minutes, we can tell you with accuracy whether your child has strep throat or not.  The best antibiotic for strep throat is either Amoxicillin or Cephalexin. Other options are available for children with allergies to these medicines.


Corey Fish