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Health Alert: Strep Throat in Academy Classroom

Dear Parents,
A case of Step Throat was reported in the Academy Classroom. Please take note of the symptoms and information below on strep throat. If your child is experiencing these symptoms, you may want to have your child checked by a doctor to ensure it is not strep throat. As a general reminder, please ensure your child gets plenty of rest and practices effective hand-washing. It is the best way of preventing the spread of illnesses.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a sore throat caused by bacteria, not a virus. Strep throat is important to diagnose and treat because certain kinds of strep may cause significant problems if left untreated. It is impossible to tell if a sore throat is caused by strep by just looking at the throat. The symptoms of strep throat can resemble the sore throat caused by many viruses or other organisms. Most sore throats are not strep but are caused by viruses. A throat culture or strep test is needed to diagnose strep accurately.

Symptoms of strep throat may include:

  • significant fever of approximately 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher;
  • pus or white spots on either or both the tonsils and throat area when the tonsils have been previously removed;
  • swollen, tender lymph nodes in the throat area, just below the ear, where the jaw bone and neck meet, and a feeling of being sicker than you normally would be with a cold. 

Other bacterial causes of a sore throat exist, but strep is by far the most common. It requires a visit to your doctor and treatment with antibiotics. Usually, the antibiotic of choice for treating strep throat is a penicillin drug or other substitutes if a person is allergic to penicillin.

While you are waiting for the antibiotic to take effect, there are some things you can do at home to help relieve some of your symptoms.

  • gargle with weak, warm saltwater: 1/4 teaspoon of salt to 4 ounces of warm water;
  • drink a mixture of tea, lemon, and honey;
  • drink cold liquids or eat popsicles;
  • avoid citrus products like orange juice, which may add to discomfort;
  • take an aspirin substitute like Tylenol or Panadol; in more severe cases, it may be beneficial to use an anesthetic spray or gargle or anesthetic lozenges containing benzocaine.

When treated with an antibiotic, a step throat usually gets better rapidly. The pain goes away within 24 to 48 hours, and you will feel relatively well. Problems that can come from untreated strep include:

  • rheumatic fever, which can cause arthritis and heart problems;
  • nephritis, which is a kidney inflammation resulting in bleeding into the kidney and urine;
  • Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina, is another non-serious but common complication of step throat. The main symptom of scarlet fever is a skin rash that looks like pinkish-red goosebumps. This rash usually starts under the arms and in the groin area, then spreads to the rest of the body. 

It is important to remember that a sore throat-whether or not caused by a virus or bacteria-is contagious. Preventing its spread is helped by good handwashing, not sharing utensils, or drinking from the same container the ill person uses. Please see your healthcare provider immediately if you suspect your child may be infected.
Please contact the school office at (301) 652-7751 or email with further questions.