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Are Antibiotics the Only Cure for Strep Throat?

Are Antibiotics the Only Cure for Strep Throat?

When your child complains of a sore throat, it’s probably due to a common respiratory infection like a cold. There are other symptoms then too, like the sniffles, tiredness, and a transition from wellness to illness over a couple days. 

Strep throat, though, is the most common cause of bacterial sore throats. Strep usually comes on quickly, often in just a few hours. Pain tends to be more severe than regular sore throats so your child may have trouble swallowing. 

Pay a visit to Dr 2 Kids, Smita Tandon, MD when your child shows signs of strep throat. Dr. Tandon and her team are strep throat specialists, ready to diagnose and treat your child for fast relief. 

Strep throat basics

Unlike sore throats related to colds or flu, strep throat originates from a bacterial infection rather than a virus. Group A streptococcus bacteria are most often the culprits behind the condition, which can also create symptoms that include:  

Strep throat doesn’t usually cause runny nose symptoms in older children, but those under the age of 3 may show signs of discharge and congestion. 

While, in many cases, strep throat will heal on its own, these bacteria can cause other, more serious illnesses in rare cases. Rheumatic fever is a potential complication, and it can damage the valves of the heart. So, while it’s a low risk, strep throat is usually treated to lower the risk of this and other inflammatory reactions. 

Are antibiotics the only cure for strep throat? 

Antibiotics are generally prescribed to fight bacterial infections, but overuse of antibiotics leads to the development of treatment-resistant bacteria. For this reason, doctors tend to weigh the benefits of antibiotic use more carefully than in the past. 

As well, antibiotics tend to destroy both good and bad bacteria. A course of antibiotics can upset your child’s digestion until good bacteria in the gut can reestablish themselves. 

However, the potential complications of strep throat make antibiotic treatment necessary. There are no other drugs that cure strep throat. Over-the-counter pain relievers except aspirin can be used to ease fever and symptoms when used at an age-appropriate dosage.  

What harm can strep throat cause? 

The presence of streptococcal bacteria in your child’s body can cause serious illness. The strep throat infection may spread to the nearby tonsils, sinuses, and middle ear. Infections can spread through the blood or to the skin. 

As well as the heart, rheumatic fever affects the joints, nervous system, and skin. Scarlet fever causes a bright rash that gives the disease its name. Strep bacteria can also spread to the kidney, causing poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis, causing inflammation of these organs. Poststreptococcal reactive arthritis can cause inflammation of joints throughout the body. 

The only strep throat solution

Antibiotics are the only cure for strep throat that reduce the risk of strep bacteria complications. At the first sign of a possible strep throat infection, call or click to book an appointment with Dr 2 Kids, Smita Tandon, MD. Dr. Tandon and her team can confirm the presence of strep bacteria to help you make the decision on antibiotic treatment. The sooner you start, the less your child suffers, so schedule your visit as soon as possible.  

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