Strep throats can usually return to school the next day
© 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!