Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Strep Throat at Daycare Center

Question: My son attends daycare 3 days a week and has ostensibly been exposed to strep 6 times in the last 12 months, as have other children at school. I suspect one of his playmates is a carrier. What can I do to prevent recurring infections? I have decreased dairy to 2 servings of milk on the hope it will decrease his mucus and hopefully lessen harboring a 'breeding ground. What are my other alternatives? Kristy

Answer: If an alternative is taking him out of daycare, that will help. If this is not an option, you may want to inquire about the possibility of looking into why there are so many cases of strep infections at the center.

If in fact bacterial strep infections (culture positive) are so frequent, the daycare center has an obligation to look into it. Strep is highly contagious and needs antibiotics for treatment (unlike viruses).

It is also possible that these are not all strep infections, but sore throats caused by viruses which are more common where large groups of children are in close contact such as a daycare or preschool.

A carrier state is said to exist if strep is cultured in someone without symptoms. Usually, there is a history of strep throat that was treated previously with antibiotics. Although symptoms were gone, the bacteria remained, usually because of resistance of the strep to the antibiotic used. Usually the body's immune system makes antibodies to the strep, which explains why symptoms are gone, even if no antibiotics are given. (It's always best to treat if it's strep!)

Adults working at the daycare are also a potential source of infection. I'm sure that the daycare director wouldn't mind if you voiced your concern about this matter.

Speak with your child's pediatrician about the repeated infections and see whether or not they are actually strep infections.

With daycare, nursery, preschool or any school, when you have children who are in such close contact with each other, there is bound to be recurrent illness.

Also see:

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  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.