Strep Throat Infection

Your child has a strep throat infection diagnosed by a throat culture or rapid strep slide test. The treatment of strep throats can prevent some rare but serious complications, namely, rheumatic fever (heart disease), or gomerulonephritis (kidney disease). In addition, treatment usually eliminates the fever and much of the sore throat within 24 hours.

Home Treatment
Antibiotics: Your child's antibiotic is penicillin. The dosage will be prescribed by your doctor. It will be given three tines each day during waking hours (that is, before breakfast, mid afternoon, and at bedtime) for the number of days your doctor deems appropriate. Try not to forget any doses. If your child goes to school or to a baby-sitter, arrange for someone to give the mid afternoon dose. If the medicine is a liquid, store it in the refrigerator and use a measuring spoon to be sure that you give the right amount. Give the medicine until all the pills are gone or the bottle is empty. Even though your child will feel better in a few days, dive the antibiotic for 10 days to keep the strep throat from flaring up.

A long lasting penicillin (Bicillin) injection can be given if your child refuses oral medicines or if it will be impossible for you to give oral medicine regularly.

NOTE: If given correctly, the oral penicillin works just as rapidly and effectively as a shot.

Local Pain Relief

Older children can gargle with warm saltwater (1/4 teaspoon of salt per glass [8 oz.] of warm water) or suck on hard candy (butterscotch seems to be a soothing flavor).

Your child is no longer contagious after he or she has taken the antibiotic for 24 hours. Therefore your child can return to school after one day if he or she is feeling better.

Throat Cultures for the Family
Strep throat can spread to others in the family. Any child or adult who lives in your home and has a fever, sore throat, runny nose, headache, vomiting or sores, doesn't want to eat, or develops these symptoms in the next five days should see your doctor for a throat culture. In most homes this only applies to those who are sick. Your doctor will call you if any of the cultures test positive for strep. The exception would be where relatives have had rheumatic fever or frequent strep infections, in which case, everyone should come in for a throat culture.

Repeat cultures are unnecessary if your child receives all of the antibiotic.

Call Your Doctor Immediately if
  • Your child develops drooling.
  • Your child develops great difficulty with swallowing.
  • The fever lasts for over 48 hours after starting the penicillin.
  • You feel your child is getting worse.