1. How long does treatment for strep throat usually last?
Ten to 14 days, depending on the antibiotic prescribed. Although your symptoms may improve or disappear before you have taken all of your antibiotics, you should complete your full course of treatment by taking all of the pills that were prescribed.
Usually after one full day of therapy and absence of significant fever; however, a few small studies have found that children may return to school as soon as 12 hours after taking their first dose of antibiotic provided they no longer have a fever and their symptoms have improved.
4. If one child in my family has strep throat, is everyone going to get sick?
Other family members, including adults, can be infected by the bacteria. The healthcare provider may test all family members who have sore throats and may test children under the age of 3. In most cases, it is not necessary to test other family members who do not have symptoms.
5. What can I do to prevent the spread of strep throat?
The spread of strep throat can be reduced by good hand washing, especially after coughing and sneezing and before preparing food or eating. People with sore throats should be seen by a healthcare provider who can perform tests to find out whether the illness is strep throat. If the test result shows strep throat, the person should stay home from work, school, or daycare until 24 hours after taking an antibiotic.
6. I've had strep throat before and was treated with antibiotics. Can I get it again?
Yes. Although antibodies may protect those who have had previous strep infections, there are so many different strains of this organism that being immune to all of them is unlikely. Therefore, someone could potentially get strep throat again and again. The best way to decrease the risk of transmission to others is to minimize close contact with others when ill and wash hands often and thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand scrub.
7. What is an ASO test and how is it used to detect a strep infection?
Antistreptolysin O (ASO) is a blood test used to help diagnose a current or past infection with group A strep (Streptococcus pyogenes). It detects antibodies to streptolysin O, one of the many strep antigens. This test is rarely ordered now compared to thirty years ago. For an acute strep throat infection, the ASO test is not helpful; the rapid strep test or throat culture should be used. However, if a health practitioner is trying to find out if someone had a recent strep infection that may not have been diagnosed, this test could be helpful. In addition, it may be used to help diagnose rheumatic fever or glomerulonephritis, which occurs weeks after a strep throat infection when the rapid strep and throat culture would no longer be positive.
8. Do other group A streptococous infections occur?
Group A streptococcus can also cause infections that occur separately from strep throat, such as impetigo and, rarely, more invasive conditions such as toxic shock syndrome or necrotizing fasciitis (the so-called "flesh-eating bacteria").
9. Are there other types of streptococci that can cause a sore throat?
Group C and group G streptococci, normally found in animals, can occasionally cause pharyngitis in humans. However, these bacteria do not pose a risk for the serious secondary complications associated with group A streptococci. Antibiotic treatment for group A streptococci will be effective against these organisms as well.
This article was last reviewed on September 17, 2015. | This article was last modified on September 17, 2015.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
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