Did you know? There are between 11,000 and 13,000 strep throat cases in the U.S. every year. Thankfully, though, strep throat is highly treatable and typically isn’t a huge cause for concern.
Even though it’s treatable, if strep throat is left untreated, it can cause potentially serious complications. Our AFC Urgent Care Ballantyne team provides some further information on strep throat and what can happen if it is left untreated below, so keep reading!
What Causes Strep Throat?
Strep throat is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A Streptococcus (also known as group A strep, or GAS). The most common ways to get strep throat are by breathing in respiratory droplets of strep bacteria or by touching your eyes, nose or mouth after being exposed to these bacteria.
Strep throat is fairly common during the winter, and if you aren’t sure whether you might be dealing with it, we’ve listed some of its common symptoms below.
Common Strep Throat Symptoms
- A sudden fever, especially if it’s 101˚F or higher
- A sore, red throat with white patches
- A headache
- A loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Trouble swallowing
What Will Happen If Strep Throat Is Left Untreated?
Since strep throat is a bacterial infection, rather than a viral infection, it won’t go away all by itself. You will have to have antibiotics to successfully treat strep throat, and if you leave it untreated, you might find yourself dealing with recurring strep throat symptoms—if not more serious complications—for months on end.
If you are concerned that you may have strep throat, visit our AFC center to get a rapid strep test! These tests provide accurate results within 15 minutes or less, and you don’t even need an appointment.
Potential Complications Caused By Untreated Strep Throat
- Abscesses (infected pockets) in your throat
- Infected lymph nodes in the neck
- Middle ear infection
- Sinus infection
- Rheumatic fever, which can cause damage to the heart, joints, nervous system and skin. This is rare, and it occurs mainly in children ages 5 to 15.
- Scarlet fever—a bright red, sandpaper-like rash that starts on the face and neck and spreads through the body; it can be caused by strep throat or strep skin infections.
- Toxic shock syndrome—a rare but potentially life-threatening condition caused by strep bacteria releasing toxins into the body
Feeling rough? Visit our AFC center to get the treatment you need today!