Strep throat is a common respiratory illness that is caused by the bacteria group A Streptococcus. While strep throat in babies and toddlers is rare, it can occur. We review everything you need to know about this below.
GAS Vs. GBS
There are two strains of strep bacteria. Group A Strep (GAS) is the strain that causes strep throat. Group B Strep (GBS) is the strain that lives in the body and rarely causes illness. However, in some cases, GBS can be passed from mother to child during birth and cause complications.
Prevalence of Strep Throat in Children
According to one study, “Prevalence rates of GAS disease and carriage varied by age; children who were younger than 5 years had lower rates of throat cultures that were positive for GAS.” Strep throat is most common in children ages 5 to 15. Strep throat accounts for about 20-30% of cases of sore throats in children.
What If My Baby Gets Strep Throat?
In the rare case that your baby or toddler gets strep throat, know that their symptoms are likely to be mild and not require treatment. If your child is older than three, then they’re at higher risk of complications.
Signs of Strep Throat in Babies & Toddlers
Signs of GAS in babies and toddlers include:
- Low fever
- Thick nasal discharge
- Decreased appetite
Signs of GBS in babies and toddlers include:
- Decreased appetite
- Trouble breathing
- Blue color to the skin
Diagnosing Strep Throat in Babies & Toddlers
Testing is not usually recommended for children under the age of three. In some cases, your child’s doctor will test for strep throat if they’re showing the symptoms listed above. Strep throat can be detected with a throat culture or rapid antigen detection test (RADT).
Treating Strep Throat in Babies & Toddlers
Because strep throat in babies and toddlers is rare and usually does not cause serious symptoms, many doctors will opt for a wait-and-see approach. However, if your child seems to be suffering from more severe symptoms, the following may be recommended:
- Antibiotics can shorten the duration of strep throat and prevent complications.
- Infant or children’s Tylenol from Philadelphia Pharmacy can be given if a doctor approves of it based on your child’s age and symptoms.
- Limiting spread by keeping children home until they no longer have a fever.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Pinnacle ENT today.