Does My Child Have Strep Throat? Trust Your Gut.

I hope you and your family are fever-free, virus-free, bacteria-free this week.
We have not been so lucky around here. We are on our fourth week of fevers, viruses, and bacteria.
Thanks to a sloppy diagnosis, some unneeded antibiotics, and an ugly virus, these past couple days have been especially frustrating for our family. Sam, in particular.
Sam’s problems started on Tuesday morning when the kids went back to school. After 17 days of vacation, we were getting back into the swing of our regular routine. So, when Sam complained of a stomach ache, we figured it was just nerves about going back to school.
But that afternoon when he came home from a friend’s house and Tae Kwon Do, he had a fever and a sore throat. By the evening, his fever was 102 and he was crying from throat pain.
Strep, right?
I looked for the telltale white patches in his throat, but nothing. However, he did have a big fever blister on his lip. By Wednesday, his mouth and throat were full of fever blister/cold sores and he was in tears from the pain.
Fever, fiery throat pain, this had to be strep throat.
M took him to the Urgent Care for a strep test and to get him started on antibiotics. Sure enough,  the rapid test was positive. Mike picked up the amoxicillin prescription, and within a couple hours, Sam was started on antibiotics and on his way to recovery.
Except, his throat still didn’t look like strep. Yes, he had a fever and pain, but no white patches. No strawberry tongue. His mouth was full of fever blisters, which the Physicians Assistant at the Urgent Care had not seen. (???)
Thursday morning Sam woke up with even more fever blisters in his mouth. I gave him another dose of the antibiotics, even though I was now doubting the strep diagnosis. I called our pediatrician for a second opinion.
Our doctor took one look at Sam’s throat and said, “Always trust your gut. This is not strep throat.”
He explained what I had already learned from parenting this past decade. Ninety-nine percent of the time, strep throat will have white patches.
Cold sores meant a virus. Our doctor explained lots of kids are “carriers” for strep, meaning they have strep bacteria in their throats all the time. The strep only becomes a problem when the bacteria grows too fast. That means an infections, which you can spot by puss pockets (sorry) in the throat.
So now Sam was one day into a ten-day prescription of antibiotics he didn’t need.
Ugh with the antibiotics.
When I was sick with chronic fatigue, I learned how antibiotics can wreck havoc on your digestive track. They kill the bad bacteria in your body, but also the good bacteria in your gut. Without the good bacteria (probiotics), your digestive track struggles to break down food.
Our pediatrician also doesn’t like antibiotics–especially unneeded ones like this prescription turned out to be. But, he reminded me we had to finish them so that Sam wouldn’t build up a resistance to antibiotics in the future.
Just wanted to share our story in case it could help someone else.
Prayers, please, for Sam, who is still recovering from the virus.

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