Strep throats can usually return to school the next day

The Pediatric Insider

© 2015 Roy Benaroch, MD

A simple study published in August, 2015 has shown that starting antibiotics for strep throat in the afternoon means that your child can safely return to school the next day.

Physicians in Virginia recruited 111 children with strep throat, proven by rapid testing and culture. All received a single routine dose of amoxicillin. The next morning, about 90% of them had a negative strep culture—they had already cleared the bacteria. The authors conclude that children who begin treatment for strep throat by 5:00 PM may safely go back to school the next day, without fear of infecting classmates, as long as they feel better and have no fever.

(I’m honestly not sure why they threw in the lack of fever as a criteria. But I think most kids with fever probably still feel pretty bad, and ought to take another day off—so I don’t disagree with their conclusions.)

Though the study didn’t address this, parents still need to complete the full course of antibiotics. We know from many older studies that less than a full course of antibiotics increases the risks of complications from strep.

Simple, quick, and a straightforward and well-informed answer. Science!

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One Comment on “Strep throats can usually return to school the next day”

  1. wzrd1 Says:

    Perhaps the fever indicates possible deeper infection? Strep throat, early on, is pretty much a surface infection of the epithelial layers. If the bacteria infiltrates deeper, fever would remain while the bacteria aren’t being shed.

    At least that’s my guess.
    It’d be nice to see a larger sample size, several other studies, etc. Science also includes repetition, to replicate the initial results. 🙂

    But, I’d go with an extra day off. The child would still be feeling poorly and that would detract from the child and the classes learning.


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