Can Strep Throat Come Back After You Finish Antibiotics?
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that is most commonly caused by Streptococcus pyogenes. It is a contagious illness that is characterized by symptoms such as sore throat, fever, headache, and fatigue. Although strep throat can be treated with antibiotics, many people wonder if it can come back even after they have finished their medication. In this article, we will delve into this question and provide a comprehensive answer to it.
What Causes Strep Throat?
As stated earlier, strep throat is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as Group A Streptococcus. The bacteria can spread from one person to another through coughing and sneezing, as well as sharing personal items such as towels, utensils, and cups. The incubation period for strep throat ranges from 1 to 5 days, which means that symptoms may not appear until several days after exposure to the bacteria.
How Is Strep Throat Treated?
Strep throat is usually treated with antibiotics, which can help to reduce the symptoms and prevent the spread of the infection. The most commonly prescribed antibiotics for strep throat are penicillin and amoxicillin. These antibiotics are usually taken for 10 days, although the duration may be shorter depending on the severity of the infection and the individual’s response to the medication.
Can Strep Throat Come Back After Antibiotics?
Strep throat can come back after antibiotics, although this is rare. In most cases, antibiotics will kill the bacteria causing the infection and the symptoms will gradually disappear. However, there are occasions when the bacteria survive despite the use of antibiotics, and the infection may come back.
Moreover, not completing the full course of antibiotics can also increase the likelihood of the bacteria recurring. It is advised that you finish the entire prescribed course of antibiotics, even if you start feeling better sooner. This will help to ensure that the bacteria are completely eradicated from your system.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Recurring Strep Throat?
If you have had strep throat in the past and the symptoms recur after a few weeks, it is possible that the bacteria have come back. The signs and symptoms of recurring strep throat include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- White patches on the tonsils or back of the throat
- Redness and swelling of the tonsils
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor immediately. They will carry out a throat culture, which involves swabbing the back of your throat to check for the presence of Streptococcus pyogenes.
How Can You Prevent Strep Throat Recurrence?
There are several ways in which you can prevent the recurrence of strep throat:
- Finish the entire course of antibiotics
- Practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands regularly and covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, utensils, and cups
- Disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with bacteria
- Consider getting a tonsillectomy if you experience recurring strep throat
What Are The Complications Of Recurring Strep Throat?
Recurring strep throat can lead to several complications, including:
- Scarlet fever
- Rheumatic fever
- Kidney inflammation
- Ear infections
If you have a weak immune system or suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, the risk of complications from strep throat recurrence may be higher.
Strep throat can come back after antibiotics, although this is rare. Completing the entire course of antibiotics and practicing good hygiene can help to prevent the recurrence of strep throat. If you experience any recurring symptoms of strep throat, it is important to see your doctor immediately to avoid complications.
Common Questions and Answers
Here are the most common questions and answers related to “Can strep throat come back after you finish antibiotics?”:
- Q: Can you get strep throat from someone who has already had it?
- A: No. Once you have had strep throat and have been treated with antibiotics, you are less likely to get it again from the same person.
- Q: Can you build immunity to strep throat?
- A: No. Unlike some other infections, strep throat does not cause lasting immunity.
- Q: Can strep throat come back without antibiotics?
- A: Yes. Strep throat can come back even if you have not taken antibiotics, although this is rare.
- Q: Can strep throat go away on its own?
- A: Yes. Strep throat can go away on its own, although taking antibiotics is recommended to reduce symptoms and prevent complications.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, September 10). Strep throat. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/strep-throat/symptoms-causes/syc-20350338
- CDC. (2019, February 12). Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/index.html
- BMJ Best Practice. (2019, May 16). Group A Streptococcal Pharyngitis. BMJ Best Practice. https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-gb/313