When a child's sore throat is strep

A sore throat in a child can be especially tricky to diagnose because kids sometimes have trouble articulating...

A sore throat in a child can be especially tricky to diagnose because kids sometimes have trouble articulating this type of pain or discomfort. We can see when our kids have runny noses or feel when they're warm to the touch. A vomiting child also makes his or her problem pretty clear. Throat pain is a little different, and sometimes it's strep. Here are some tips on what to look for if you suspect your child has strep, and what you can expect when you visit the pediatrician to be sure.

Signs and symptoms. Strep throat is highly contagious, so beware if you have other children in the house. Don't forget that you are susceptible, too. According to the National Center for Biological Information, some common signs that your child may have strep are a fever, a sore and red throat, loss of appetite, swollen glands and difficulty or painful swallowing. Your child may even experience nausea and a headache. Imagine how crabby your little one will be! Fun! In all seriousness, if you think your child may have strep, the pediatrician's office is your next stop.

Pediatrician visit. Your child's doctor will do a simple in-office test to determine if that pesky sore throat is more than just bothersome. A culture may be necessary if the strep test comes back negative but there is reason to believe that your little one is still suffering from strep. The test results can take a few days in this case.

On the mend. Your child will likely go on an antibiotic plus a pain and fever reducer. The good news for junior is that popsicles can help ease the discomfort. You may also want to try using a humidifier in his or her bedroom. Or, if you happen to be experiencing one of those humid Atlanta evenings, head outside for a bit instead! If you have any questions about what you should or shouldn't be doing to help your child feel better, call your pediatrician.

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