Perianal Strep Infection in Children: Care Instructions

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Child with legs spread wide, showing bright red rash around anus and up to genital area

Your Care Instructions

Perianal (say "pair-ee-AY-nal") strep is an infection of the skin around the anus. This is the opening where stool leaves the body. The infection causes a bright red rash around the anus. It can sometimes spread into the genital area. The rash is moist and much redder than diaper rash.

The infection is caused by bacteria called streptococcus. This is the same bacteria that causes strep throat. The area is often infected when your child or another person gets the bacteria on his or her hands and then touches the area.

This infection can spread easily, so you and your child will need to be careful not to spread it to others. You can do this by washing your hands with soap and water after touching the affected area. Make sure your child washes his or her hands with soap and water after touching the rash, too.

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. He or she may also prescribe an ointment or cream.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Give your child antibiotics as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • If the doctor prescribed a cream or ointment, use it as directed.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you change diapers or help your child at the toilet.
  • Have your child wash his or her hands with soap and water, before and after using the toilet. Make sure that your child scrubs under his or her fingernails.
  • Have your child sit in a few inches of warm water (sitz bath) after bowel movements. The warm water helps with pain and itching. Make sure that no one else shares the bath water.
  • Do not share washcloths or bath towels.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the area.
    • Pus draining from the area.
    • A fever.
  • The rash is changing or getting worse.
  • Your child has new pain with bowel movements.
  • You see blood in your child's stools.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child has new or worse constipation. If your child has had pain during bowel movements, he or she may hold the stool in to avoid pain.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.