Whether they attend a regular daycare or formal preschool, your toddler will most likely become sick a few times during the year. From common colds and sinus infections to ear infections and even a more serious virus like the flu, these illnesses are more likely to develop in smaller, crowded spaces, such as schools. Considering between 4 and 6 of every 20 kids with a sore throat have it, strep throat is actually more common than most parents believe. Thankfully, proper understanding will help you learn the signs of this infection so your child can receive the treatment they need.
Of course, the most obvious sign of strep is a sore throat. However, not every sore throat is infected with Streptococcus bacteria.
If your child is complaining their throat hurts, or it is painful for them to swallow, inspect the inside of their mouth for signs of strep. This pain usually begins quickly, increasing fast over a period of a few hours even.
Strep will cause the throat to appear red and swollen. The tonsils, which are the soft masses of tissue in the rear of each side of the throat, will also be swollen and enlarged.
If you notice red or white patches inside your child's mouth and throat, they most likely have strep and should be seen by their pediatrician immediately.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
After inspecting your child's throat, use your hands to feel around the lymph nodes. These are located on each side of your child's throat/neck, under, and behind the lower part of their ears.
If the lymph nodes appear swollen and enlarged, they most likely have the strep infection.
Strep also causes your child to develop a high fever. The fever may progress without treatment, becoming dangerous and even life-threatening.
Whether your toddler-aged child has a sore throat or not, you should seek out emergency medical care if they have a temperature of 103°F or higher.
Muscle and Joint Discomfort
Rheumatic fever is a common condition that occurs when an untreated fever progresses to a more severe stage. This fever causes inflammation in the muscles and joints, which causes your child to experience pain, stiffness, and weakness in the ankles, elbows, knees, and hands.
Again, without treatment, the fever and strep virus can spread to the heart, placing your child's life at risk.
If your child is experiencing one or more of the above signs, it is time to see out emergency medical care. While common, strep throat is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly. Contact a medical office like Advocare Haddon Pediatric Group at Haddon Heights for more information and assistance.