Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.

Overview

Strep throat is a contagious bacterial infection caused by Group A Streptococcus bacteria. It is treated with antibiotics to prevent a serious but rare complication called rheumatic fever. 

Strep throat occurs most often in children ages 5 to 15 years and spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms appear 2 to 5 days after exposure and include a sore throat and fever.

Strep throat frequently occurs from the late fall through winter and early spring. An infected person can unknowingly pass the infection on to others before symptoms appear.

An infected person remains contagious until they have taken antibiotics for 24 hours.

Causes

Strep throat is caused by a specific type of bacteria known as Group A Streptococcus. It is spread when an infected person is in close contact with another person. 

Your child does not usually get strep throat through casual contact with an infected person. However, crowded environments, such as school or daycare, make it easier for bacteria to spread. 

Strep throat is easily passed to other family members. 

Symptoms

Symptoms of strep throat can appear suddenly and are usually worse on the second day. Most children develop symptoms about 2 to 5 days after they are exposed to the infection.

The most common symptoms of strep throat include:

  • A sore, swollen throat 
  • Fever 
  • Headache

Many children also experience: 

  • Difficulty swallowing 
  • Chills 
  • A red skin rash 
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea 

Your child’s symptoms may depend on his or her age and the severity of the illness. 

Most sore throats are caused by a virus. It is difficult to distinguish strep throat from other viral sore throats. We suspect strep throat when your child: 

  • Has knowingly come into contact with an infected person.
  • Does not have a cough or runny nose. 

Children under age 5. Young children may: 

  • Have a fever. 
  • Have swollen lymph nodes in the neck. 
  • Be irritable and uninterested in eating. 
  • Complain of stomach pain instead of a sore throat. 

Children over age 5. For older children, symptoms can be more severe, and may include:

  • A high fever (over 102°F) that develops rapidly 
  • Swollen, sore lymph nodes in the neck 
  • An exceptionally sore throat that looks very red
Possible complications 

Strep throat may be associated with ear infection, sinusitis, and an open sore (abscess) on the tonsils.

If left untreated, strep throat can lead to serious but rare conditions, such as rheumatic fever, scarlet fever, or kidney disease. 


Diagnosis

We diagnose strep throat by swabbing the back of your child's throat to see if strep bacteria are present. The test results are usually available within 24 hours.

If the strep test comes back negative, it means we did not find strep bacteria and antibiotics are not necessary.

Prevention

The best way to prevent your child from developing strep throat is to:

  • Wash hands frequently.  
  • Avoid people infected with strep bacteria.
  • Avoid people who have a sore throat and fever. 
  • Encourage your child not to share food or drinks with others.
Prevent spreading 

Children who have strep throat are contagious and should be kept home from school or daycare until they have been on antibiotics for 24 hours. 

An infected person who is not treated for strep throat remains contagious for up to 21 days. 

Remind children to cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and to wash their hands frequently. 

Prevent family outbreak 

If other family members develop symptoms while your child is being treated for strep throat, please call the Appointment and Advice line for prompt treatment. 

Treatment

Strep throat is treated with a combination of home care and antibiotics, such as penicillin or amoxicillin. If your child is allergic to penicillin or amoxicillin, we will prescribe another antibiotic. 

While strep throat eventually improves without treatment, antibiotics are prescribed to prevent a rare but permanent heart disease caused by untreated strep infections (rheumatic fever).

Be sure to give your child the full course of antibiotics as prescribed, even when he or she feels better. If your child does not finish all of the medicine, the strep infection may return, making it more difficult to treat. 

Home Treatment

Home care aims to reduce your child’s symptoms and provide comfort.

We recommend that you:

  • Use ibuprofen or acetaminophen to treat pain or fever.
  • Offer your child fluids regularly to prevent dehydration. Cold fluids, including popsicles and frozen fruit bars, may soothe a child’s sore throat.

While there is no research to support the following treatments, many families find them helpful. Have your child:

  • Drink warm tea with honey and lemon. 
  • Gargle with a small amount of salt dissolved in warm (not hot) water, if your child is old enough.
  • Suck on cough drops or hard candy to relieve sore throat pain, but do not give to a young child who may choke.
  • Use a cool-mist humidifier or vaporizer to add moisture to the air and soothe a dry, sore throat. Make sure to change the water daily.

We do not recommend using over-the-counter throat sprays or medicated drinks.

Do not give your child aspirin, as it may lead to a life-threatening condition called Reye's syndrome.

When to Call Us

Call us if your child has already been diagnosed with strep throat and symptoms worsen or do not improve within 2 to 3 days after starting antibiotics.

Your Child's Care with Me

If you are concerned about your child’s symptoms,  please contact our Appointment and Advice line, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If we suspect that your child has strep throat, we will arrange for you to bring your child in for a strep test. We will use a swab to collect mucus from the back of your child’s throat, and our lab will analyze the sample.

Test results are usually available within 24 hours

If your child has strep throat, we will prescribe antibiotics. It is very important that your child finish the course of antibiotics exactly as prescribed, even if he or she feels better before the medicine is gone.

If the strep test comes back negative, it means we didn't find strep bacteria, so antibiotics are not needed.

You can connect with me in a variety of ways, depending on the situation and what is most convenient for you at the time. I am available online, by telephone, or in person.

  • For nonurgent questions or concerns, you can e-mail me using this site, once you have registered to use the Act for a Family Member feature. You can also schedule an appointment online to see me in person.
  • If your concerns are immediate, or you simply prefer to use the telephone, please call our Appointment and Advice line, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our advice nurses can give you immediate advice, and our telephone staff can send me a message or schedule an appointment for your child.
  • Depending on your child’s symptoms, you may also have the option to schedule a telephone appointment – with me or another pediatrician, if I am unavailable. Please let the telephone staff know what you prefer and what is convenient for you.

Coordinating Your Child's Care

Having all of our Kaiser Permanente departments located together or nearby, including pharmacy, laboratory, radiology, and health education, makes getting care for your child easier.

Another major benefit is our comprehensive electronic medical record system, which allows all of the doctors and clinicians involved in your child’s care to stay current on your child’s health status and to collaborate with each other as appropriate.

When every member of the health care team is aware of all aspects of your child’s condition, care is safer and more effective.

If you come to an office visit
  • At the beginning of your child’s visit, you will receive information about when he or she is next due for a well child visit (checkup) and immunizations. We can discuss and schedule any preventive tests that may be needed. 
  • At the end of your child’s visit, you may receive a document called the “After Visit Summary” that will summarize the issues we talked about during the visit. You can refer to it if you forget what we discussed, or if you just want to recheck your child’s height, weight, or vital signs. (If your child is under age 12, you can also view these summaries online, under Past Visits.)
If you schedule a telephone appointment
  • In addition to in-person visits, we now offer the option of telephone appointments for certain common pediatric concerns. Depending on your child’s symptoms, you may have the option to schedule a telephone appointment with me or another pediatrician, if I am unavailable. We will call you at an agreed-upon time, at whichever phone number is most convenient for you.
  • Many parents like this new option, but if you prefer to be seen in person, it’s always your choice. Just let the telephone staff know what type of visit you prefer.
  • Telephone appointments are not appropriate for all health concerns. The advice nurse can help you decide what type of care is best for you and your child.
If I prescribe medications

We will work together to monitor and assess how your child’s medications are working and make adjustments as needed. 

Prescriptions can be filled at any Kaiser Permanente pharmacy. Just let me know which pharmacy works best for you, and I will send the prescription electronically, in advance.

If refills are needed in the future, you can:
  • Order them online or by phone. Order future refills from my home page or by phone using the pharmacy refill number on your prescription label.
  • Have them delivered to you by mail at no extra cost. Or you can pick up your child’s medications at the pharmacy.
  • If no refills remain when you place your order, the pharmacy will contact me regarding your prescription.
If lab testing or imaging is needed

For lab tests, I will use our electronic medical record system to send the requisition to the Kaiser Permanente laboratory of your choice. For imaging procedures, such as X-rays, we will schedule an appointment with the Radiology Department. 

When the results are ready, I will contact you with the results by letter, secure e-mail message, or phone. In addition, you can view most of your child’s laboratory results online, along with any comments that I have attached to explain them.

If I refer your child to a specialist

My specialty colleagues are readily available to assist me if I need additional advice about your child’s condition. In some cases, I may contact them during your visit, so we can discuss your child’s care together. If we decide your child needs a specialty appointment after that discussion, we can often schedule it the same day or soon thereafter.

Convenient Resources for You

My goal is to provide high-quality care and to offer you choices that make your child’s health care convenient. I recommend that you become familiar with the many resources we offer so that you can choose the services that work best for you.

My Doctor Online is available to help you manage your child’s care at any time that is most convenient for you. From my home page you can:

Manage your child’s care securely

You can begin to manage your child’s care online by requesting access through our Act for a Family Member feature. Once you have added your child to your account, you can:

  • View and compose secure e-mail messages.
  • Manage your child’s prescriptions and refills.
  • Schedule well visit and nonurgent appointments.
  • View your child’s Preventive Services to see whether your child is due for any immunizations or well visits.
  • If your child is under 12, you can also view most lab test results and review information about past visits.
Learn more about your child’s condition
  • Read about causes, symptoms, treatments, and procedures.
  • Find interactive health tools, videos, and podcasts to help you manage your child’s condition.
  • View programs to help you decide on or prepare for a surgery or procedure.
Help your child stay healthy
  • Sign up for our online newsletters for parents, customized to your child’s age.
  • Locate health education classes and support groups offered at our medical center.
  • Explore interactive programs, videos, and podcasts that focus on helping you keep your child healthy.
  • Check to see when your child is next due for immunizations and a well visit (checkup).
Additional References:

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If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder. This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.

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