Signs of Strep Throat

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.

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

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. Other indications to see your doctor would be signs of drooling or difficulty breathing.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

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