How Many Days Of Work Or School Should You Miss For Strep Throat?
Strep throat (streptococcal pharyngitis) causes fever, sore throat and swollen lymph nodes, and symptoms can last for weeks. But how long should you really skip out on school or work for strep throat?
The rule of thumb is to wait at least 24 hours after you take your first dose of antibiotics. It’s important to wait a full 24-hours because strep spreads easily and until this point you may still be contagious. All you have to do is sneeze into your hands and boom you’re ready to spread your germs. From here on out, things like handshakes and touching public handlebars can easily spread the bacterial infection.
Over 3 million cases of strep throat are reported every single year in the US. Strep throat is a bacterial infection and not a virus, which means that it CAN be cured with an antibiotic.
Strep throat requires a medical diagnosis via lab testing or imaging. In most cases, you’ll need an oral antibiotic, like amoxicillin or penicillin, in order to recover as quickly as possible. While strep throat is not life threatening, it has the potential to cause more serious health ailments if left untreated.
When Can I Send My Kid Back To School After Strep Throat?
Sending your kid to school with strep throat could easily end up infecting half the kids in class. It’s important to wait until the appropriate time to send your child back to school. Some kids are ready to return to school just one day after taking amoxicillin, but it really boils down to how your child feels.
According to national and state public health recommendations, you should wait at least a full 24 hours after your child takes their first dose of antibiotic. So if your child takes an antibiotic at 2 pm on Tuesday they shouldn’t return to school until 2 pm on Wednesday. Even if it’s been a full 24-hours, if your child still appears sick they could be sent home by school staff or teachers.
One study in particular involved 111 children diagnosed with group A strep, confirmed by 2 medical tests. The children in the study all visited a pediatric practice in Vienna, VA, between August of 2013 and March of 2015. After giving the children amoxicillin, researchers asked them to return between 12 and 13 hours later. Only 9% of children still tested positive for strep throat when their throat was swabbed 12-13 hours later. This means it’s easy to assume by waiting 24-hours, the majority of children would no longer be contagious.
When Can I Go Back To Work After Strep Throat?
The same rules outlined for school children apply to the work force as well. You can return to work 24-hours after you take your first dose of amoxicillin, or some other antibiotic used to treat strep throat. That doesn’t mean you’ll feel up to returning to work, but if you do, you don’t have to worry about infecting others.
Should I Go To Urgent Care For Strep Throat?
You must go to your primary care doctor or an urgent care near you in order to receive an antibiotic. Why wait to make an appointment with your primary care doctor? At the first sign of strep throat, visit your local Urgent Medical Center. The sooner you start taking an antibiotic the better off you’ll be in terms of how quickly you bounce back. If you ignore your sore throat you risk getting very sick, in which case it could take longer for the antibiotic to make you feel better. No matter what stage of strep throat you start taking an antibiotic, you should no longer be contagious after 24-hours.
Symptoms Of Strep Throat To Look Out For:
Swollen lymph nodes on either side of your neck
A fever of 101 degrees F or higher
Your tonsils are red and swollen, use a flashlight or the flashlight on your phone to get a better look back there.
There are white patches on the back of your throat
Some people experience headaches, stomach pains and vomiting as well.
At the first sign of strep throat visit Urgent Medical Center for a quick diagnoses and antibiotic prescription. We can help you get back to school or work in no time!