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Kristin Hayes, R.N.

Child Dies of Strep Throat

By December 31, 2012

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The chilling headline in the Denver Post reads "Douglas County first-grader dies of strep complications," but the article offers little more information. Not that more info is necessary,  just reading the title is enough to break the heart and terrify any parent. So how common is this, and just how can you die from strep throat you may be wondering?

While it is unclear from the information offered through available media reports how this particular child died, untreated strep throat can lead to serious health problems. While most strep complications appear after the initial illness has passed it is possible for a child to have a serious reaction to a high fever caused by strep throat. That's one possibility. Untreated strep throat can lead to kidney and heart damage, this kind of death would most likely not be sudden, however. As frightening as all of this sounds, these kind of complications are indeed rare.

What we do know is that all cases of strep throat need to be treated with antibiotics to avoid potential complications. Strep throat symptoms usually include an extremely sore throat without a runny nose or cough. Your child may also have swollen tonsils or lymph nodes. If your child has symptoms of strep throat make sure to see their pediatrician, a simple shot or course of oral antibiotics can cure the illness.

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