Pediatrician Questions Sore Throat

How can I distinguish between a strep throat infection and a sore throat in my 3 year old?

My son is 3 years old and is down with a fever and severe throat pain. He is unable to eat or gulp anything. Is it a sore throat or a strep throat infection?

3 Answers

He would need a strep test. Even pus pockets not necessarily mean strep. Strep needs to be treated to prevent complications like rheumatic heart disease.
Hi there,

Physicians typically use criteria from the CENTOR score to determine whether a patient is likely to have strep - one point each for:
- absence of cough
- fever greater than 100.4
- pus on the tonsils
- tender/swollen lymph nodes along the front sides of the neck

Given your son’s age (strep is more likely in kids 3-14) and the symptoms you described, his CENTOR score is in the range in which physicians would definitely test him with a rapid strep test to assess for strep. I would highly recommend you take him to his doctor to find out for sure with this test if he has strep.
Hope he feels better soon!
Strep should be ruled out first. Fever and a sore throat are most likely strep.