Strep Throat (cont.)

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Are strep throat symptoms different in children compared to adults?

Some of the general and constitutional symptoms of strep throat infection may vary quite a bit depending on the patient's age.

  • Infants primarily experience a thick "colorful" (yellow or green) drainage from the nose and possibly a low-grade fever, with fussiness, irritability, and a decrease in appetite.
  • Children aged one to three ("toddlers") may complain of a sore throat, trouble swallowing, poor appetite, crankiness, and swollen glands (lymph nodes) beneath the jaws.
  • Older children and adolescents generally look and feel awful with strep throat. They can have high fevers, very painful throats, often severe difficulty swallowing, and pus, which can sometimes be seen covering the tonsils.
  • Adults with strep throat may have milder symptoms, and in some cases the illness may be undetected. Symptoms vary; adults may also have severe pain and trouble swallowing.

When should I be concerned about a possible strep throat?

Parents should be concerned about a sore throat that is accompanied by a headache, high fever, stomachache, vomiting, or severe tiredness. The presence of a red, somewhat rough-to-the-touch rash associated with the above symptoms also should suggest the need for medical evaluation.

An urgent call to the doctor's office or emergency room visit is appropriate in a child who has extreme difficulty swallowing associated with drooling or is experiencing difficulty breathing.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/16/2014

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