Q: It seems like my kids always end up with strep throat after starting school each fall. Why is this?
A: Strep is a bacterial infection that's spread by coughing, sneezing, person-to-person contact (sharing a cup or holding hands), or from mucus or saliva on shared objects like pencils, crayons, books, and toys. This makes schools breeding grounds for the germs. Strep also tends to be most common in kids ages 6 to 10.
Some kids are more vulnerable to strep than others, but other than washing their hands frequently and teaching your kids not to put their hands or toys in their mouths or share cups or straws with their classmates, there's not much you can do it prevent it. If your kid catches strep, he'll likely come down with symptoms like a fever, sore throat, painful swallowing, and swollen neck glands. This can be uncomfortable, but most kids start feeling better within a day of taking antibiotics and will no longer be contagious after 24 hours of taking the medication. The infection should clear up fully after a full course of treatment, usually about 7 to 10 days.