Sore throats can be caused by many types of bacteria, viruses and allergies, but strep throat—most common in children between ages 5 and 15—has its own tell-tale signs. Caused by the group A streptococcus bacteria, strep throat is an infection that requires prompt treatment, particularly in children over the age of 3.
Left untreated, strep throat can lead to kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever, a serious illness that can cause stroke and permanent damage to the heart. Fortunately, strep throat can be easily diagnosed with a simple throat culture, and promptly treated with a course of antibiotics.
At Yale Medicine, our pediatricians are skilled at diagnosing and treating strep throat, including being able to identify the rare cases that demand a higher level of care, says Maryellen Flaherty-Hewitt, MD, a Yale Medicine pediatrician. “If it isn’t a straight-forward case, we have pediatric experts in infectious diseases and ear, nose and throat physicians to call upon,” she says.