How do I care for a child with a bacterial throat infection?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

If your child has a bacterial throat infection, you should make sure they get treatment with antibiotics as ordered. The antibiotics should resolve the worst symptoms in a day or two. While you wait, make sure your child is rested and hydrated. Keep them home from school for a day or two. Do something nice and quiet with them to keep them occupied and their minds off their symptoms.

Diana K. Blythe, MD

Bacterial throat infections can be strep throat which is very painful to children. If your child has a sore throat that is particularly bad or which lasts for more than a few days, take them to see their pediatrician. They will need to get checked for strep. A throat swab will be taken and a rapid strep test done. If the rapid test is negative, a throat culture will be watched for two days. 

If either of the tests show your child has strep, antibiotics are needed. For strep throat, antibiotics are given not simply to relieve the sore throat, but mostly to prevent the many complications like scarlet fever, or rheumatic heart disease. 

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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.