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12 Things You Didn’t Know About Strep

Back to School can often mean Back to the Doctor’s Office…and so I thought it timely to share this information with you.

Unfortunately over the years, our family has seen as lot of strep. We have also learned that strep has symptoms beyond what is commonly known. Over the years I’ve also recommended to friends to have their kids swabbed based on the current symptoms and much to their surprise, they tested positive.

So here are some things that you may or may not know about Strep:

1- Not every case of Strep involves fever

2- Not every case of Strep involves a sore throat

3- Headache is a symptom of Strep

4- Stomach ache is a symptom of Strep

5- Vomiting is a symptom of Strep

6- Rash is a a symptom of Strep

7- A swollen gland can be a symptom of Strep

8- Although cough is NOT usually a symptom of Strep, anything going on in the ‘throat’ area can be a symptom-including a scratchy voice (NOTE: Kids sometimes complain that their “neck” hurts…this can sometimes mean “throat”)

9- Antibiotic treatment should only commence once Strep has been confirmed via a Rapid Strep Test or Strep Culture (Some labs will test only at 24 hours, while other will test at both 24 and 48 hours)

10- Strep, left untreated, can cause serious complications, affecting the kidneys, heart and other areas and systems within the body

11- After 48 hours of treatment with antibiotics for Strep, the Strep is no longer considered contagious.

12- Strep can live in toothbrushes, so toothbrushes must be replaced after after treatment for Strep.  To be extra cautious. you can replace with a ‘cheap’ toothbrush 48 hours after treatment begins and with a fresh one when treatment is over.

All of this does not mean that every time your child has a headache or a stomach ache, you should run to get tested. It does mean, however, if your child is unwell and displaying some or all of these symptoms, even in the absence of fever or a sore throat, you should consult your medical practitioner as to whether a swab and culture might be called for.

Have you or your child ever tested positive when swabbed based on ‘non-traditional’ symptoms? Were you surprised?

Wishing you a healthy & happy day,


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  1. Thank you Tanya! It’s true… last spring we had a strep incident with NO sore throat, NO loss of appetite or difficulty eating. Only complaints of a tummy ache and a very low fever. That same day, another mom had mentioned that a tummy ache may be a symptom of strep, and ONLY because of that (and the fever) did I have him swabbed that day… And of course, it was positive immediately. Who knew!

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Ilana. That’s exactly why I posted this-sometimes it’s better to learn via reading than by experience… 😛

  2. I had strep for the first (and hopefully last) time a few weeks ago. No fever at all… just a sore, stiff neck, and the wicked sore throat that feels like I’d been eating glass, and I wanted to cry with every swallow… the doctor said one of my kids might have been a healthy carrier – no one else in the family showed any symptoms.

    And yes, I also threw away my toothbrush a few days into my antibiotics treatment, and I kept mine away from the others in the drawer – that just makes good sense to me.

    Good post, lady!

    • Thanks 🙂 Sad to hear you were so sick. Yes, one can be a ‘healthy’ carrier & the only way to know is to be swabbed/tested when well (i.e. not sick, no symptoms at all). It’s my understanding that often the carrier doesn’t develop symptoms at all (thus ‘healthy’ carrier). Good thing to know as you may choose to keep a carriers toothbrush separate at all times… Good move on the toothbrush, by the way!

  3. In the US, one can go to a small clinic in a pharmacy and get a rapid strep throat test, with results in about 15 minutes. Are there any places in Montreal that do the same, or does one have to take their child to a pediatrician or hospital? Thanks!

    • Hi David,

      I apologize for having missed your question.I have been told that the Pharmaprix in Pointe Claire has someone on staff who is authorized to do this but not everyday. I suspect if they do, then other pharmacies may offer this service as well. Again, I apologize for the delayed response. Hope everyone is feeling better!


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