What Makes Kids More Susceptible to Strep Throat?

The only thing worse than seeing your child suffer from a sore, scratchy throat that makes it difficult for them to eat and swallow is watching your child suffer from a strep throat over and over again. Strep throat is a common infection affecting millions of people every year. It’s the cause of about a third of all sore throats.

Aside from being painful and uncomfortable, strep throat is also highly contagious. This painful infection is caused by a type of bacteria called group A streptococcus. There is nothing good about having strep throat except that it can be treated with antibiotics. Usually, children start to feel better within a day or two after starting a course of antibiotics.

Strep throat symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

How do you know if your child’s sore throat is strep? Usually, strep throat is accompanied by a fever, red and swollen tonsils, and swollen, sore neck glands. Other possible symptoms that may indicate strep throat include headache, stomach pain, nausea, and a rash.

The most accurate way to diagnosis a strep throat is a rapid strep test. This quick test involves a swab in the back of your throat to collect fluids for the test. Within five minutes, your doctor can tell if the test is negative or positive. If it’s positive, you’ll be sent home with antibiotics.

In cases of recurring strep throat, your doctor may recommend a tonsillectomy, which is a surgery in which the tonsils are removed. To prevent strep throat, it’s important to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, don’t share food or utensils, and try to steer clear of someone who has strep. 

Why are some kids more susceptible to strep throat?

In some cases, when children get strep throat frequently, there’s a chance that someone in their household is a carrier of the strep bacteria. Being a carrier means that this person can easily spread this infection, but doesn’t catch it themselves.

Recent studies have also found a genetic reason why some people get strep throat repeatedly. Researchers in La Jolla, California, studied children who had had their tonsils taken out because of recurrent strep and also children who had them taken out for other reasons such as sleep apnea. 

The study found a gene variant in the tonsils that were removed because of recurrent strep throat. This gene variant made it difficult for children to fight the bacteria that causes strep. During their study, they also discovered a gene variation that protected against group A strep infection. 

With the discovery of this protective gene, scientists now hope to get to work on a vaccine that can prevent strep. But until then, it’s important to practice good hygiene and see your doctor for a test and treatment if you have a sore throat. 

If you think your child has strep throat or a recurring case of strep throat, call Night Watch Pediatric Urgent Care, or make an appointment online now. 

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