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Myth: You can tell if a child has strep simply by looking at their throat.

Myth: You can tell if a child has strep simply by looking at their throat.This is a fairly common myth that is propagated by some children’s doctors — but it isn’t true! While most parents are worried about strep throat when their child has a throat infection (tonsillitis), there are also many viruses that cause infections that look very similar to strep. If your child has a sore throat with fever and a red, swollen throat or tonsils with white pus on them, then they need to be seen by their local pediatric physician so that they can be tested for strep throat. If the tests for strep come back negative, then your child’s throat infection is likely caused by a virus and antibiotics simply will not work. Viral infections of the throat usually improve in two to three days without treatment.

Most studies have shown that kids’ doctors and other pediatric health professionals are only correct about half the time when they think a child has strep after just a physical exam. So if your child was treated every time it looked like they had strep, then they might be over-treated or mistreated with antibiotics half the time. As always, your local pediatrician will be able to advise on the best course of action.


About author MacKoul Pediatrics

MacKoul Pediatrics is an amazing local pediatrics office in Cape Coral, FL where caring, compassionate doctors and nurses work with you to keep your children as healthy as possible. MacKoul cares for children from birth to college age, from Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Naples, and beyond.

December 10, 2014