How strep throat can lead to scary OCD symptoms in kids

In rare cases, a strep infection can cause kids to experience extreme OCD behaviours, a condition called PANDAS. Many doctors don’t know it exists.

Two years ago, Craig and Erica Mills packed up the family minivan and headed north from Toronto to a campground in Tobermory, Ont. Annual camping trips were loved by their three young sons—two days of sleeping in tents, cooking hot dogs over the fire and unmitigated mud play. But this time, something was different with their oldest son, seven-year-old Knox, who kept complaining about feeling dirty. “This is normally a super outdoorsy, roll-around-in-the-mud kind of kid, and out of nowhere he’s freaking out about whether his hands are clean enough,” Erica recalls. On the drive home, Knox became increasingly agitated—the car was sticky; his brothers were gross. He kept asking his parents to pull over so he could wash his hands. In a bid to distract him, they asked if he liked a song on the radio and he was unable to answer that simple question. Instead it was, “I don’t know, I might, maybe, I might, I don’t know.”

Today’s Parent-2019