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How Long Does Strep Throat Last

What Is A Strep Throat And How Long Does Strep Throat Last?

A painful, sore, and scratchy throat is already bad enough; making the life miserable of a person experiencing it – However, things can get seriously worse if the sore throat is “Strep Throat”.

If left untreated and the appropriate antibiotics for strep throat are not used, strep throat is capable of becoming a serious health problem; while also being contagious, it can start to spread easily to the people around you. Keeping its contagious nature in consideration, it is recommended by doctors to gain knowledge and understanding of this medical condition.

Continue reading – This blog will help you learn all about strep throat and also you will know about how long does strep throat last.

What is Strep Throat?

Being exclusively accountable for a minor portion of the sore throats – Strep throat is categorized as a bacterial infection that shows its symptoms by making your throat itchy and sore.

A person who is experiencing strep throat has a high chance of developing severe health complications such as rheumatic fever or kidney inflammation if it isn’t treated timely. Failure to give strep throat its due attention and treatment can lead to painful symptoms that rheumatic fever brings along such as damaged heart valve, rash, and even joint inflammation.

Strep throat painfully affects everyone regardless of their age, but children are the ones most commonly affected by it. 

What Are The Strep Throat Symptoms?

For anyone who needs to know if strep throat is what has been causing them pain; listed below are all the strep symptoms that should be enough for you to get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Painful throat
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swollen tonsils turned red; with pus and white-colored patches
  • Red-colored spots at the back of your throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Painful body
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Rash

If you are experiencing a few or all of the strep symptoms listed above, your primary care doctor will specifically conduct a strep test to make sure if you are suffering from strep throat or not; since you can be suffering from these physical signs and symptoms but still not have strep throat, and can possibly be diagnosed another illness and infection. Much less likely to occur but there’s another possibility where you can be affected by strep throat, yet not show any symptoms at all.

What Does Strep Throat Look Like?

In order to visually identify if you have strep throat or not, you will need a flashlight, a clear and clean mirror, and you would have to open your mouth wide.

While looking down your throat, you might notice white colored patches or maybe dots right at the back of your throat. Even your tonsils i.e. the bumps that you see at the back of your throat could be swollen and blood-red in color.

Is Strep Throat Contagious?

Causing severe soreness and unbearable itchiness, strep throat is listed as one of the most contagious bacterial infections. Categorized as a viral infection of the tonsils and throat, strep throat is caused by one of the types of bacteria i.e Group A Streptococcus (GAS). 

Strep Throat Treatment

You should schedule an appointment and consult a doctor when you start suffering from strep symptoms, especially when the strep symptoms cause you to have a fever as well; since strep throat can not really be diagnosed without a specific strep test being administered.

Strep throat is most effectively treated by using antibiotics for strep throat. The benefits of treating strep throat with antibiotics include:

  • Minimizing the duration of the sickness
  • Minimized/controlled symptoms
  • Refraining the bacteria from being contagious and spreading
  • Minimizing the risk of developing complications such as rheumatic fever

What is The Relationship Between Strep Throat and Covid?

COVID-19 and strep throat have distinct infectious agents that become a cause for their existence – However, the relationship between strep throat and COVID is based on the common symptoms that they share. The shared symptoms for the two diseases are inclusive of:

  • Fever
  • Sore or irritated throat 
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, face, or jaw 
  • Headache 
  • Stomachache 
  • Nausea or vomiting 

While strep throat and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, the pace at which they occur is still quite different – so if your objective is to differentiate between the two illnesses, you can notice at what pace are the symptoms occurring, since the strep symptoms occur a lot more quickly when compared to the gradually occurring symptoms of COVID-19.

Another way to identify which disease you are suffering from before you get yourself tested is that symptoms of both diseases include nausea and the consequent vomiting – however, when it comes to COVID-19, adults are more likely to suffer from nausea and vomiting; but strep throat has that effect on the children.

What is Strep Throat Test? 

The doctor you will consult for sore throat will inquire about the symptoms you have been suffering from, along with conducting a physical exam as well. Based on the consultation and physical examination, if they think that strep throat can be a possibility as being the illness you’re suffering from, they will then conduct the specific test required to diagnose strep throat and will swab your throat.

To specifically diagnose strep throat, there are two kinds of tests that can be administered: a rapid strep test and throat culture.

  1. Rapid strep test

The rapid strep test is carried out by swabbing the patient’s throat to run a test on that swab- This leads to the test instantly diagnosing if the illness is being caused by the Group A Strep bacteria.

  • In case of the test coming back positive, the doctor will proceed with the treatment by prescribing antibiotics.
  • In case of the test coming back as negative, yet the doctor still suspects strep throat; then as the next step to gain confirmation, the doctor can then move on to opting for throat culture swab.

  1. Throat culture

After swabbing the patient’s throat for the throat culture test, the doctor then waits for the test results to come back, since throat culture test results require more time to determine the bacteria growths on swabs. While it may require more time to offer results, it does offer perfectly accurate results and even identifies infections that would’ve been missed by rapid strep test.

Does Strep Throat Go Away on its Own?

This painful illness requires at least three to seven days for it to go away while being treated using antibiotics for strep throat. In case of leaving this disease untreated, the patient will remain a threat to everyone they come in contact with for the next two to three weeks, since this disease is highly contagious. 


How long does strep throat last with antibiotics?

If you take antibiotics, then strep throat can last for 3–4 days, but you will feel better in 1-2 days after you take the medicine.

How long does strep throat last without antibiotics?

Typically, strep throat last without antibiotics can take 7-10 days depending upon your immune system. Still, in some cases, this can be worse and you must have to contact to your preventative care physician.

– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 11/29/2022

Learn more about our editorial process.

  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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