The bacteria called Streptococci are responsible for strep throat. It is a common throat infection and you can easily treat it with simple home remedies. Strep throat lasts for about one week but it should never be left untreated. If the infected person does not take prescribed medication, he/she may have to face certain health complications. Streptococci usually infect the oral pharynx and tonsils. Human body can fight the infection on its own, but home remedies help to cure the condition fast and prevent the situation from worsening. This type of infection is more common in children than in adults.
The symptoms may last for a week or so, but strep throat is not contagious, once you are on antibiotics for 24 hours. It should be noted that most sore throats are not caused by streptococci. Antibiotics are not necessary for every sore throat in children and adults. But if you have strep throat, taking antibiotics can help lower the symptoms sooner and prevent the spread of strep. The symptoms of strep throat are almost the same as that of a sore throat observed during common cold and flu.
Strep Throat Symptoms
- Mild or sometimes high fever
- Inflammation of throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Swollen tonsils
- Redness, soreness and irritation of throat
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and uneasiness
- Tender glands at the front of the neck
The common antibiotics penicillin, erythromycin, amoxicillin and cephalosporins are used to treat streptococcal infection. Penicillin works great for strep throat. If the question 'how long does strep throat last without antibiotics' is haunting you, here is the answer. The symptoms of throat infection begin to subside in four or five days. But if it is left untreated, then there is a possibility of getting rheumatic fever about 20 days after strep throat. It depends upon the overall health of the person. One should immediately take antibiotics to get rid of the infection. If rheumatic fever does occur as a result of untreated strep throat, it has to be treated with antibiotics.
So, why not take antibiotics for strep throat itself? Doctors usually prescribe oral penicillin for 10-days. You should not discontinue taking the medicine, as soon as you start feeling better. You should take the entire dose of the antibiotic prescribed by the doctor. There are chances of return of the strep infection; if you stop taking the antibiotic early. You know that 'how long does a cold last' can never be answered accurately. Similarly, it is difficult to say how long 'strep throat' would last without treatment. Since untreated strep throat can lead to serious ailments and since it can be treated with home remedies, it is better to opt for the following simple remedies.
- Warm Fluids: If you have difficulty in swallowing; drinking plenty of warm fluids is the easiest 'strep throat treatment' to soothe the itchy sore throat. It can be soup, broth or just plain warm water or warm milk with a pinch of turmeric. You can drink a mixture of warm water and a little bit of honey. Herbal tea, ginger tea, lemon grass tea work great for strep throat. Honey ensures quick relief. Just make sure that you consume enough liquids.
- No Spicy and Oily Foods: Foods which can increase inflammation of the throat should be completely avoided. For example, spicy, oily, fried food, cold food, etc. should be avoided. Soft food items like mashed potatoes and soft fresh fruits can be consumed, so that they will not hurt the throat on their way down. You should opt for a healthy diet, as the body will require adequate fuel to fight against the streptococci.
- Preventive Measures: Strep throat is seasonal, it can be noticed with a peak in the winter and early spring. You can use warm clothes, scarves, you can cover your neck with a stole or muffler so as to keep your body warm. This can prevent the situation from worsening.
- Gargling: Gargling with warm salty water, with a pinch of turmeric in it can help reduce the inflammation in the throat.
- Sufficient Rest: Take enough rest as you may experience weakness. Avoiding any kind of stress would be better.
The other aspect about the duration of strep throat is that people with strep throat who are not properly treated can shed streptococci in the air for weeks, even after the symptoms have resolved. If another person picks up strep, the symptoms can be noticed within 2-5 days. Till then too, he can again pass the strep. Through coughing and sneezing, strep can be passed from person to person. So, it is important to avoid contact and maintain cleanliness. You should wash your hands frequently and maintain personal hygiene.