When should I call the doctor about my child’s strep throat?

You should call the doctor whenever you suspect your child has strep throat because it may cause other problems if left untreated, including heart problems and kidney problems. Symptoms of strep throat include a sore throat, swollen glands in the neck, fever and pus on the tonsils. If there is any associated breathing trouble, change in voice quality or swallowing trouble, call your doctor right away.

Call your child’s doctor if:

  • Your child does not smile or show interest in play for at least a few minutes during a four-hour period.
  • The pain gets worse or does not get better with treatment.
  • He begins drooling.
  • He has more pain on one side of the throat than the other.
  • He cannot open his mouth wide.
  • He has a hard time swallowing.
  • His voice becomes muffled.
  • A new rash develops.
  • Neck movement causes pain.
  • He shows signs of dehydration (drying out) such as:
  • No urine in six to eight hours in an infant less than 1 year old
  • No urine in more than eight hours in a child older than 1 year old
  • No tears when crying
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry lips and mouth
  • Fever continues after taking the antibiotic for 48 hours (call during office hours).
  • You have questions or concerns about how your child looks or feels.

Also, if your child has strep and other family members develop a sore throat or fever, call your doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.