Exposed My 11 Month Old to Strep Throat, Help!

Updated on February 10, 2010
M.A. asks from San Francisco, CA
12 answers

I unknowingly exposed my 11 month old son to strep throat. I found out this evening that I have strep throat and am really worried that my 11 month old son will get it as well due to how contagious it is. We spend all day and all night together (we co-sleep). I give him lots of kisses, and we often share the same fork or spoon while having a meal, and he has recently started to have this obsessive need to stick his hand in my mouth and grab ahold of my tongue... lol. I wash his hands and face frequently, especially before eating since he self feeds. I was told the incubation period, when no symptoms are present, is 2 to 5 days, so from the time of exposure to time during symptoms appear. In the past 5 days I have had nearly constant contact with him. Reading up on symptoms of strep in infants, it says that the classic symptoms of a sore throat, white/yellow coating and sores in mouth are usually not present in infants, but rather sleeplessness, irritability, refusal to eat/drink and a thick clear or green/yellow nasal discharge are the symptoms. My son has been teething and for the past week he has had ALL of those symptoms, so I guess my question really is - how do I differentiate between teething and strep? I don't want to put him through having ato a rapid strep test or throat culture if I don't have to (he had the H1N1 flu a few months ago and was traumatized by the cotton swab up the nose to get to back of the throat that was necessary for a diagnosis). What should I do??

TIA!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all of the great advice! Took my son to see his pediatrician the morning after posting this and the rapid strep test was negative. He did a throat culture as well and I found out today that it was negative as well.

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M.L.

answers from Seattle on

If you're breastfeeding, keep doing it!

Either way, if he's showing symptoms and need antibiotics, then see his ped. If you are with him almost all the time, then you were probably both exposed at the same time and he may have it now as well.

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J.T.

answers from Dallas on

It is very rare for children under 18 months to get strep throat. Watch him for fever, decrease appetite and a rash with small red bumps that shows up on his trunk. If any of those are present, I would take him to your pediatrician. The flu swab did not traumatize him. No one has ever gone into therapy for a q tip in a delicate place:) What is important is that your child is evaluated and treated.

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K.G.

answers from Detroit on

If you are Breastfeeding he may not get it. He can antibodies from your milk! Young kids usually get a fever with strep as well and they can also get a strep rash on thier trunk.
I hope that he doesn't get sick :(

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D.W.

answers from Indianapolis on

You can always make a quick call to the pediatrician's office, explain the situation and ask their advice. They may want to bring him in for a culture or they may suggest remaining vigilant in observation. There were a few occasions when my kids were little that we had nasty bugs, but somehow they skipped the kids. We all have different immunities - he may be fortunate not to have been infected despite the closeness with you.

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J.W.

answers from Seattle on

You can go see your pediatrician and they can perform a simple test to see if he tests positive for strep. Yes, any intrusion or exploration by a physician or anyone for that matter will be threatening, but traumatized is more of a Mom reaction. He's not thinking about that test any longer. I understand completely, but he's okay with the tests. They tend to take their cues from us when it comes to reacting to things. So keep cool, take a deep breath.

Now that you're aware of the transmission/contagion factor, it would be a great time to start the transition to everyone having their own silverware and not sticking one's hands down Mom or anyone else's throat. I know it can be cute and funny and he's exploring, but you need to teach him not to do it. He could find his hands in a willing dog's mouth or another person, not a good thing.

The good news is that if he has strep and you've caught it early, he'll get better sooner. Also, once you're on medication, the contagion factor subsides. How's your husband doing? He's more apt to get strep than your son, as his immune system is already fighting everything outside the house in addition to this bug, and there is the stress factor of daily living for adults. Drink lots of water, eat fresh fruits and vegies when possible. Take good care!!!

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D.L.

answers from Portland on

If he's had those symptoms for a week, then he may have strep already and you may have gotten strep from him! If you two are in contact all the time then you would most likely have been exposed the same time and be getting sick on the same timeline, within a day or so of each other. We just went through this same thing in our family a couple months ago. My husband was positive and the doctors advice was for everyone in our family to be seen. I almost didn't do it because my kids weren't acting all that sick and I didn't feel sick (in fact my preschooler had gone to preschool that day).. but everyone was positive for strep! I'm so glad we were tested. Look for a fever too. Hope you feel better soon!

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M.L.

answers from Seattle on

If you're breastfeeding, keep doing it!

Either way, if he's showing symptoms and need antibiotics, then see his ped. If you are with him almost all the time, then you were probably both exposed at the same time and he may have it now as well.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

He needs to see the doctor and get a test done. I know you wanted to avoid it, but there really is no other way, and if it is strep he needs antibiotics. My son just had strep, and now the entire family does, and we do not co sleep or share forks, it is just so catchy if one family member gets it, it is more than likely the rest will as well. Once you have all been tested and are receiving treatment, be sure to wash bedding and replace all toothbrushes, that will help to avoid a re-infection.

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S.M.

answers from Spokane on

I wouldn't worry...I had strep for two days before I realized it, and both my little ones did not get it.

W.C.

answers from Seattle on

Take him to the doctor. That's the simple answer.

J.N.

answers from Seattle on

I think you might feel better if you took him to the doctor and let them tell you he doesn't have it.

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L.M.

answers from Seattle on

I agree with previous poster. It is very hard for children under 2 to get strep throat. When my son was about that age I got strep throat as well. My husband then also got it but my son never did. I don't think you have to worry but just keep an eye on him and if you're at all concerned call the doctor.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

The only way to differentiate between teething/cold and strep is with a culture. untreated strep is very serious and can result in serious illnesses such as infection of the heart sac. Get a culture!

If he has a thick green/yellow nasal discharge he at a minimum has a cold which makes him more vulnerable to having a strep infection. Call your pediatrician and ask for their advice. A strep infection is nothing to fool around with.

Next question: Possible Strep- Do You Opt to Have Your Kid Swabbed?