Is Strep Throat Contagious?

HealthHearty Staff Oct 3, 2018
Strep throat is a contagious infection caused by bacteria. Here is detailed information about the contagious period, symptoms and treatment methods for strep throat.
Strep throat and sore throat, being similar conditions, are often confused with each other. Sore throat can be caused due to virus, bacteria or other parasites. While, strep throat is a bacterial infection, caused due to Streptococcus bacteria.
When suffering from throat irritation, check whether you suffer from strep throat or simple sore throat. Strep throat is an infection of the throat and tonsils caused by Streptococcus bacteria. This is commonly seen in children and teenagers,but people of any age group can contract it. It generally lasts for a week, and is severer than sore throat.

How Contagious is Strep Throat

Coming straight to the point, strep throat is highly contagious, i.e., it can easily spread from one person to the other. Coming directly in contact with the bodily fluids of the person suffering from strep throat, can lead to the transmission of the disease.
Sneezing, coughing, kissing, etc., can contribute in spreading the infection.
Secondly, sharing personal items like towels, handkerchiefs, etc., or shaking hands can also cause strep throat to spread. Its incubation period varies from one person to the other. Normally, it lasts for 3 days; but, sometimes, it can also go up to 5 days.

How Long is Strep Throat Contagious?

Strep throat is contagious until you take antibiotics. On taking antibiotics, the infection stops being contagious within 24 hours. If a person suffering from strep throat fails to get it diagnosed and treated immediately, the infection can remain contagious for up to 2-4 weeks.
Therefore, it can be said that, without antibiotics, strep throat is contagious as long as the symptoms remain. Leaving the symptoms untreated can lead to other serious complications. Hence, it is essential to consult the doctor and get the disease diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Symptoms

Red spots on the back of the throat or reddening are the prominent symptoms of strep throat. Apart from these, the other symptoms include difficulty in swallowing, nausea, fever, headache, stomach ache (in some cases), fatigue, etc. As these symptoms are similar to those of sore throat, you must immediately consult a doctor to know the exact cause.

Treatment

It is recommended to take any medication only after consulting the doctor. Antibiotics shorten the time of spread of the disease, and also treat the infection. Penicillin is universally prescribed by doctors for strep throat. But, if the patient is allergic to it, other antibiotics, like, cephalexin, amoxicillin, erythromycin, etc., are prescribed.
Although antibiotics are effective, sometimes, people experience side effects of antibiotics, like skin rash or diarrhea. However, they are not serious. In minor cases, home remedies can be used to get relief from the symptoms of strep throat.
➡ Taking rest is essential for quick recovery. When suffering from strep throat, you need to have plenty of sleep and adequate bed rest to gain quicker relief.
➡ Having herbal or ginger tea, honey tea, chicken soup, cough lozenges, gargling with salt water, etc., can help in treating minor symptoms like irritation in the throat and cough.
➡ Dehydration is often observed when suffering from this condition. It is recommended to drink adequate amounts of water to treat dehydration.
Although home remedies are effective in reducing the symptoms to a great extent, it should be noted that, antibiotics are required to treat strep throat completely and prevent it from being contagious. It is essential to complete the entire dose of prescribed antibiotics in order to gain quick and total relief, otherwise it can have negative effects.

Prevention

► You must wash your hands with soap or sanitizer, especially if you come in contact with people suffering from cough and other contagious diseases.
► You should avoid using other people's personal things like, clothes, towels, toothbrush, etc.
► It is also advisable to cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing, if you suffer from sore or strep throat, in order to prevent the disease from spreading.
► The most important of all, is to have a healthy and a balanced diet to strengthen the immunity of the body.
We conclude by saying that as strep throat is contagious, you must immediately consult the doctor and take proper treatment, in case you observe any of the aforementioned symptoms. This will also help in preventing the spread of disease. Take care!
Disclaimer: The information is for educational purposes only. It should not be substituted for proper treatment and advice.