Strep Throat Exposure
- Exposure to someone with a strep throat infection
- Also called close contact
- Living in the same house as someone (sibling, parent, or other household member) who has a throat culture or rapid-strep test that is positive for strep throat.
- Kissing relationship with someone (boyfriend, girlfriend) who has a throat culture or rapid-strep test that is positive for strep throat. For this to be relevant, the last close contact to the infected person should be within 10 days of onset of symptoms in exposed child.
Other Types of Contact:
- Limited contact with strep: Exposed to someone outside the home with a positive strep test (e.g., at school).
- Sometimes the contact is with a person who was treated for clinical symptoms of a strep infection without any culture or testing.
- If the contact was with someone taking antibiotics for over 24 hours, they are not contagious.
- Throat cultures and rapid strep tests aren't urgent. Most can be done in your doctor's office.
Return to School
- If your child doesn't have any symptoms, he does not need to miss any child care or school.
- If your child has symptoms compatible with strep throat, he should avoid child care or school until results of a throat culture are known.
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When to Call for Strep Throat Exposure
Call Us Now (night or day) If
- Your child looks or acts very sick
- Great difficulty swallowing fluids or saliva
- Difficulty breathing or working hard to breathe
- Fever over 104° F (40° C) and not improved 2 hours after fever medicine
- Signs of dehydration (very dry mouth, no tears with crying and no urine in more than 8 hours)
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently (Note: a throat culture or rapid strep test alone is not urgent)
Call Us Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently (OR needs a throat culture)
- Sore throat pain is severe and not improved 2 hours after taking ibuprofen
- Age under 1 year old
- Earache or sinus pain/pressure also present
- Child with mild symptoms compatible with strep throat (e.g., sore throat, cries during feedings, puts fingers in mouth, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, fever)
Call Us During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
Parent Care at Home If
- Strep contact but no symptoms AND you don't think your child needs to be seen
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Sore Throat Relief:
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR STREP CONTACTS
Treatment for Contacts WITH Symptoms (Pending A Throat Culture)Reassurance:
- A throat culture isn't urgent.
- It could be a strep throat or just a viral infection of the throat.
- A sore throat is commonly part of a cold.
- Here are some ways to keep your child comfortable until you get a throat culture.
- Children over age 1 can sip warm chicken broth, apple juice or other warm fluid.
- Children over age 6 can suck on hard candy (e.g., butterscotch) or lollipops.
- Children over age 8 can also gargle warm water with a little table salt or liquid antacid added.
Give acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen for severe throat discomfort or fever above 102° F (39° C).
Cold drinks and milk shakes are especially helpful. (Reason: Swollen tonsils can make some foods hard to swallow).