How long do antibiotics take to work for strep throat?

Strep throat is a common bacterial infection that can make you feel miserable. Symptoms include sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Fortunately, antibiotics can help cure the infection. But how long does it take for them to work? Let’s find out.

What are antibiotics?

First things first – what are antibiotics? They’re medications that kill or slow down the growth of bacteria in your body. There are many different types of antibiotics, but they all work in roughly the same way: by interfering with the bacteria’s ability to reproduce.

The difference between viral and bacterial infections

Before we dive into strep throat specifics, it’s worth knowing a bit about the difference between viral and bacterial infections. Both types can cause similar symptoms – fever, coughing, etc., but only bacterial infections like strep throat will respond to antibiotics.

How do you know if you have strep throat?

Strep throat usually starts with a sore throat that comes on quickly followed by other symptoms like difficulty swallowing and swollen lymph nodes. You might also notice white patches on your tonsils or at the back of your throat.

If you suspect you have strep throat then get yourself checked by a healthcare specialist who may do some tests such as Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT) or Streptococcal Culture test (STREP-C). These tests use swabs taken from inside your mouth/throat which assists doctors identifying whether Group A Streptococcus is present in order to prescribe any necessary medication including antibiotic treatment(s).

So how long does it take for antibiotics to work?

The answer depends on several factors:

1) Which antibiotic are you taking

Different antibiotics take different lengths of time to start working; however most prescribed therapies last approximately 10 days^.
Below is an example of antibiotics that can be used to treat strep throat and how long they typically take to work:

  • Penicillin – Start working in 1-2 days; complete course for most people is around 10 days.
  • Amoxicillin – May start alleviating symptoms within a day, but generally takes about five more days until bacterial growth halts completely. This medication ought to be administered at regular intervals with similar length of time between every dose to provide best possible outcomes^.

2) How severe your infection is

If you’ve got mild-to-moderate strep throat, then you should expect your symptoms improve in the first few days after starting antibiotics. If your infection is more severe or if it’s been present for several days before starting treatment,, recovery may take longer.

3) Your immune system

Everyone’s immune system works a little differently so some individuals may recover slowly from bouts with infections even upon antibiotic consumption while others bounce back almost immediately.

So what does this all mean?

In general, most people will experience improvement in their symptoms after two or three doses of their prescribed therapy when treating strep throat. However, it’s important not stop taking medication early because stopping too soon could increase chances for relapse/risk creating drug-resistant bacteria strains/lower effectiveness of future treatments(^[1]).

What happens if you don’t take antibiotics?

Although many cases are mild-to-moderate and do not require any antibiotic intervention, other individuals who contract the disease over age three are required medical attention due potential complications developing including Rheumatic fever (which weaken heart muscles), Kidney damage/Nephritis (which pose as lifelong health risk). Avoiding or delaying these complications necessitate consuming recommended prescriptions promptly thus demonstrating necessity seeking professional healthcare advice if suspecting illness progression.)

Alternative forms of relief

If you’re looking for alternative methods considering chemical medication, try natural relief options alongside anti-infection treatment(s) recommended by medical specialists:
Gargling salt water or spraying a throat spray can reportedly help alleviate sore throats.
Drinking warm fluids like herbal teas and soup but avoiding dehydrating caffeine based drinks such as coffee that prolong mucus secretions in the chest caused due inflammation of bronchial tubes^.

How to prevent strep throat?

Prevention is better than cure! Avoiding contact with anyone who has an active infection/cough/sneezing shows first line protection against developing similar symptoms. Also good to follow identical regular health habits which decrease chances for infections like washing hands frequently (sanitizing/wiping down high contact surfaces), consume well balanced nutritionally dense meals (avoid junk food), avoid crowded places during peak seasons(such as winter months when pollution ends up being more airborne causing vulnerability towards contagious viral diseases).


So there you have it – antibiotics usually start working after two or three doses if taken regularly without skipping any treatments over ten days! For most people taking them is the best way treating strep throat because bacteria may continue thriving in oral cavities longer time infective potential increasing higher throughout body over falling ill once again^[1]. Natural methods are certainly helpful too if used on conjunction with prescribed drug therapies and together they prove beneficial alleviating severe symptom presentations. Remember above all prevention from illness sows evidence favoring healthier living attaching value for good physical wellness!

\item Kolstad, A., Straube, E., & Woelber, E. (2020). “Strep Throat”, In Encyclopedia Britannica.
Accessed March03rd2022

Lidgren M et al.. Penicillin V and amoxicitin are superior to erythromycin for eradication of group A streptococcus in pharyngotonsillitis -a prospective randomized controlled trial. ClinicalMicrobiology and Infection. 2010 September;16(9):9-15.


Random Posts