Dr. Alan Greene on Signs of Strep Throat

My daughter has a runny nose and a sore throat. Should I take her for a strep test?


My 19-month-old has been having running nose (yellow mucus) for four days and her voice seems hoarse, so I suspect a sore throat. Do I need to take her to the doctor for a strep test? She seems better, but I am concerned.


Strep is a bacterial infection of the throat that needs antibiotic treatment, even in an era when we are cutting way back on antibiotics. She is a bit young for strep to be likely. About 95 percent of people with strep are between the ages of 5 and 15, but those who are younger (and older) can certainly get it. The big things to look for include a fever, a sore throat that doesn't improve quickly, a tummy ache (maybe with vomiting), a headache, and possibly a sandpaper-like rash.

In my practice, I wouldn't call in for a visit a child of that age with a runny nose, a sore throat that is improving, and hoarseness (usually a sign of a virus, not strep) -- unless the child had a temp over 101.5 or so, or unless there were a known strep exposure.


The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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