Strep Pharyngitis Pediatric Care Plan

By David Shafran, MD
Medically reviewed
December 14, 2020

What is Strep Pharyngitis?

More commonly known as strep throat, strep pharyngitis is caused by a bacteria called Group A Streptococcus. This bacteria infects either/both the back of the throat or the tonsils. The tonsils are lymph nodes that stick out on both sides at the back of the throat. 

Signs and symptoms of a strep throat include:

  • Throat pain or pain with swallowing
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Stomachache
  • Swollen glands/lymph nodes on the sides of the neck
  • Sandpaper rash (scarlett fever)

The following are NOT signs/symptoms of strep throat and mean that the sore throat is viral:

  • Runny nose 
  • Cough
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Hoarse voice

Strep Pharyngitis Diagnosis and Treatment

Strep pharyngitis is diagnosed after a throat culture, which is obtained by a throat swab. This step is crucial to ensure your child doesn’t receive antibiotics unnecessarily. Once diagnosed, your child can begin antibiotic treatment. Strep responds quickly to antibiotics and symptoms should improve within 24 to 48 hours of starting them. 

Additional supportive care for fever and a sore throat include:

  • Tylenol or ibuprofen
  • Sucking candies
  • Cool or cold foods such as ice cream or popsicles
  • Salt water gargles

When Can Your Child Return to School?

  • No fever for 24 hours without use of tylenol or ibuprofen
  • They are feeling better
  • They’ve been on antibiotics for at least 12 hours

Check in with K if…

  • You have general questions about your child’s condition
  • You have questions about supportive care for your child
  • You’d like general followup with a doctor

See a doctor in person if…

  • Your child’s pain becomes severe
  • Symptoms last for more than 5 to 7 days
  • Your child has difficulty swallowing or is drooling excessively
  • Your child isn’t drinking enough to stay hydrated
  • Your child has blood in their urine
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

David Shafran, MD

Dr. Shafran is a board-certified pediatrics physician. He joins K Health from the Cleveland Clinic, where he led a pediatrics practice and completed a fellowship in transplant ethics. He has completed multiple fellowships, including one in pediatric nephrology at Rainbow, Babies & Children's University Hospitals. He received his medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv and completed his medical residency at the Jacobi Medical Center.