My Throat Hurts: It Might Be GAS

By Christy Lenahan - Macaroni Kid Content Contributor August 30, 2018

School is in full swing and the germ sharing has commenced!  While I don’t have the actual statistics, I can anecdotally say that strep throat (along with several other respiratory illnesses) are on the rise.Strep throat is caused by Group A streptococcus bacteria, GAS for short, and is spread through direct contact with mucous from an infected person such as droplets from a cough or sneeze.Symptoms of strep throat typically include a sore throat, painful swallowing, fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, and redness and swelling of the tonsils.  You may also see red spots on the roof of the mouth and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.  If you or your child are experiencing any of these symptoms, it very well may be GAS!

                Diagnosis of strep throat is made by swabbing the back of the throat and testing for presence of Group A streptococcus bacteria.This test can be done in your doctor or nurse practitioner’s office and results are reported quickly.   A true diagnosis of strep throat cannot be made by symptoms alone.  If you or your child are diagnosed with strep throat, antibiotics will be prescribed.Anyone who is diagnosed with strep throat should stay home until there is no longer a fever and they have taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours.  Even if symptoms have subsided, you should complete the entire antibiotic prescription.

                To prevent strep throat, wash your hands frequently and encourage your kids to do the same.  Always cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing.  Avoid eating or drinking after any person who has strep throat or shows signs of illness.  Anyone with strep throat should throw their toothbrush away 24 hours after beginning antibiotics and if other toothbrushes are near that person’s toothbrush, they should be discarded immediately.  Again, if you or your child are diagnosed with strep throat, stay home for 24 hours after starting antibiotics or until fever has subsided – whichever comes first.