Springdale Mason Pediatrics

Strep Exposure


  • Close contact with someone who has a Strep throat infection
  • Close contact means living in the same house with the infected person. It also includes close physical contact such as having a kissing relationship.

Call or Return If

  • Your child gets any Strep symptoms in the next 7 days
  • You think your child needs to be seen

About This Topic

Exposure (Close Contact)

  • Household Close Contact. Lives with a person whose Strep test was positive. This can be a sibling, parent, or other household member.
  • Kissing relationship with someone (boyfriend, girlfriend) who has a positive Strep test.
  • Close contact should be within 10 days of onset of symptoms in exposed child. Reason: Time from contact to Strep symptoms usually is 2 to 5 days.

Other Types of Contact

  • Limited contact with Strep. Contact with someone outside the home with a positive Strep test. This type of contact occurs at school.
  • Sometimes, the contact is with someone who was treated for Strep without testing.
  • Children taking antibiotics for over 12 hours and without fever do not spread Strep to others.
  • Throat cultures and rapid Strep tests aren't urgent. Most can be done in your doctor's office.

Symptoms of Strep Throat

  • Pain, discomfort or raw feeling of the throat
  • Throat pain is made worse when swallows
  • Children less than 2 years of age usually can't complain about a sore throat. A young child who does not want favorite foods may have a sore throat. They may also start to cry during feedings.
  • Other symptoms include sore throat, fever, headache, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.
  • Cough, hoarseness, red eyes, and runny nose are not seen with Strep throat. These symptoms point more to a viral cause.
  • Scarlet fever rash (fine, red, sandpaper-like rash) is highly suggestive of Strep throat.
  • If you look at the throat with a light, it will be bright red. The tonsil will be red and swollen, often covered with pus.
  • Peak age: 5 to 15 years old. Not common under 2 years old unless sibling has Strep.


  • Group A Strep is the only common bacterial cause of a throat infection. (called Strep pharyngitis).
  • It accounts for 20% of sore throats with fever.
  • Any infection of the throat usually also involves the tonsils. (called Strep tonsillitis)

After Care Advice

  • Many children have contact with someone with Strep throat.
  • Most will not come down with an infection.
  • This is especially true if the contact occurs outside the home.
  • Strep tests are not needed for children without any symptoms.
If Your Child Gets a Sore Throat:
  • It could be a Strep throat or just a viral infection of the throat.
  • A sore throat is often part of a cold.
  • The only way to tell is to get a Strep test.
  • A Strep test is not urgent.
What to Expect:
  • Time from contact to Strep symptoms usually is 2 to 5 days.
  • If your child goes 7 days without getting symptoms, he won't get Strep.
Return to School:
  • If your child has no symptoms, he does not need to miss any school.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2021 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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