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."

Scarlet Fever and Strep Throat

Question: My 5 1/2 year old son has had strep throat at least 4 times over the past two months-along with a couple of other children in his pre-school class. He has never had strep before-never caught it from his older sibling as well. My question, he started his most recent round of antibiotics on a Fri, by Tues of the following week, another child came down with strep in his class. My son complained of a sore throat along with a mild belly ache, no fever while on the antibiotic-amoxcilian. Could he have caught another case of strep while on the anti-biotic?

Answer: The bacteria responsible for Strep Throat is "Streptococcus." This bacteria is easily identified by culture and treated with an antibiotic, usually a Penicillin or a similar antibiotic if there is a known allergy to Penicillin. Repeated infections of Strep Throat (proven by culture) need to be evaluated.

After treatment is completed and successful, a repeat throat culture will show negative results (no Strep). If results are positive after treatment, an alternative treatment may be in order. Make sure that medication has been properly administered.

Symptoms may not always be present when harboring this bacteria in the throat, yet the person who is "a carrier" may inadvertently pass it on to others unknowingly. This may be a possible cause of repeated Strep infections. The carrier may otherwise not appear ill. Although antibiotics are wonderful medications that treat mild to severe infections, repeated use within a short period of time may cause bacteria to develop resistance to the antibiotic.

Keep in mind also, that although your son is on an antibiotic being treated for Strep Throat and having the symptoms of a Strep Throat, he may actually have a viral infection. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections. The best thing at this time would be to ask your son's pediatrician for advise. Testing contacts, whether in school or in the home may be advisable to help solve this puzzle!

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.