As suspected flu cases dominate doctor’s offices, many people may be too quick to judge. Blaming their child’s illness on influenza when another bug could be to blame. Dr. Jeffery Johns works as a family physician in Lee Memorial Health System’s Convenient Care clinics.
“To kind of differentiate flu from some of the other common cold viruses - usually cold viruses don’t make you feel too bad. And usually they’ll stay kind of above the chest, maybe just in the nose, the ears, in the throat,” says Dr. Johns.
Confusing the flu or a cold with strep throat is not uncommon. Truth be told, children who have strep or the flu may experience many of the same symptoms.
“Strep tends to be more along the lines of no coughing or congestion just really sore throat, high fever generally above 102. They may have swollen glands, they’re not eating as well,” says Dr. Denise Drago, who is a pediatrician with Lee Memorial Health System.
One reason to be suspicious of strep is age. School aged children are more likely than adults to have strep. A contagious infection, it spreads wherever kids are in close quarters.
“Kids under five tend to not have strep. But kids between 5 and 15 are at highest risk of having strep,” says Dr. Drago.
It’s important to size up the symptoms, while a cold or flu should resolve on its own, strep needs attention.
“We’ll do a strep culture, a rapid test in the office and send out a confirmatory test just to make sure. But it is definitely important in treating strep throat with antibiotics,” says Dr. Drago.
Left untreated, strep has the potential for health complications. The takeaway: if your child has a sore throat with a fever, don’t assume it’s the flu. Have a doctor check it out.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.