New Information on Strep Throat
Do you remember getting strep throat when you were a kid? Getting sick is never fun (except for maybe getting to miss school!) Even though getting sick is inevitable, as parents we want to do all we can to minimize the risk of our kids coming down with any illness. That’s why this new research on the germ that causes strep throat is important: it shows that the strep-causing bacteria actually thrives for a long time on inanimate objects like toys, cribs, books, and other items frequently grabbed and chewed by young children and infants. The kicker? The bacteria that causes strep throat persists even after the item has been cleaned.
Before this study, the thinking was that strep throat was transmitted via near human-to-human contact – either directly touching or through the air after coughing or sneezing. Now, it looks like just touching something – even within a few hours after cleaning – is enough to transmit strep throat because the germs don’t die off as quickly as thought. The study looked at stuffed animals and other surfaces in a daycare center early in the morning, before the daycare opened for the day, so the items the researchers looked at were untouched overnight. Alarmingly, the research team found the bacteria lasted much longer than anticipated, and that the germs could potentially still infect someone.
With this new information on strep throat, it underscores just how important it is to make sure that hand-washing is a habit — but now experts are saying avoid the “antibacterial” soaps and stick with regular soap. Now that it seems like it is easier to come down with strep throat, be on the lookout for symptoms, including:
sore or itchy throat
red marks or white streaks on the throat and roof of the mouth
swollen or tender lymph nodes (glands in the neck),
throwing up (especially in younger children)
Even though these signs are indicative of strep, they also could just be symptoms of a cold or something else entirely. Consult your pediatrician if you think your child has strep throat, because it is contagious and the doctor can prescribe the right medicine.