NEWS FROM THE NURSE–Flu and Strep

Influenza and Strep Throat Season

This is the time of year when we tend to see more cases of influenza and strep throat, both at school and in the community. We want to make sure you know what signs to look out for if your child is sick.

Strep Throat
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that can make your throat feel sore and scratchy. If untreated, strep throat can cause complications, such as kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can lead to painful and inflamed joints, a specific type of rash or heart valve damage. If you or your child has signs or symptoms of strep throat, see a doctor for prompt testing and treatment.

Signs and symptoms can include:

  • Throat pain that usually comes on quickly and does not improve in 48 hours
  • Painful swallowing
  • Red and swollen tonsils, sometimes with white patches or streaks of pus
  • Tiny red spots on the area at the back of the roof of the mouth (soft or hard palate)
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in your neck
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash
  • Nausea or vomiting, especially in younger children
  • Body aches

It’s also possible for you or your child to have many of these signs and symptoms but not have strep throat. The cause of these signs and symptoms could be a viral infection or anther illness. That’s why your doctor generally tests specifically for strep throat.

Influenza

Influenza is a viral infection that attacks your respiratory system — your nose, throat and lungs. Most people who get the flu can treat themselves at home and often don’t need to see a doctor. If you are at risk of complications, see your doctor right away. Taking antiviral drugs within the first 48 hours after you first notice symptoms may reduce the length of your illness and help prevent more serious problems.

Common signs and symptoms of influenza include:

  • Fever over 100 F (38 C)
  • Aching muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs
  • Chills and sweats
  • Headache
  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea (rare, but more common in children)

*Source: Mayoclinic.org.