Doctors warn parents as strep throat cases spiking nationwide

While COVID cases are on the decline, strep throat infections are up both in our area and across the nation.

Now, doctors are warning parents to be on the lookout, with many victims exhibiting mild or atypical symptoms that make the infection difficult to identify.

Dr. Kerry Fierstein, CEO of Allied Physicians Group is seeing what she calls a noticeable uptick in the number of children coming in with strep throat. 

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"This is your everyday strep, and we’re seeing tons and tons and tons of it," she told FOX 5 NY. "It definitely feels worse than it has been, but it is higher than before the pandemic, and we don’t know why." 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring an increase in invasive group A Strep infections in children after at least five pediatric deaths have been confirmed so far this year in Illinois. In New York, a spokesperson for the State Department of Health says early indications show a slight increase in cases this calendar year as compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This specific strain of strep according to the CDC is the result of the disease spreading to the blood, muscles, and lungs. 

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"Treating strep is important because of the complications that can come down the road," Fierstein said. 

To prevent complications, Fierstein says it’s important to make sure children have their basic vaccines including chickenpox and flu. 

"People who are not vaccinated for those things and if they get those infections they’re more likely to have an invasive strep infection like the kind that can be deadly," she said. 

And it’s not just strep going around. Last week, well over 100 students in the Babylon school district were out with suspected Norovirus. 

Doctors are offering tips to stay healthy, reminding people to wash their hands, cough or sneeze into their elbow, and stay home if they’re not feeling well. 

While antibiotics are recommended for treatment, doctors say it’s important to confirm a positive case before starting. 

According to Dr. Fierstein, cases of strep throat are most common between December and April.