Strep Throat (cont.)
John Mersch, MD, FAAP
Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- Strep throat facts
- What is strep throat?
- What causes a sore throat?
- What are tonsils and tonsillitis?
- What are pharynx and pharyngitis?
- Viral causes of throat infection
- Bacterial causes of throat infection
- How common is strep throat?
- Is strep throat contagious?
- What are the signs and symptoms of strep throat?
- Are strep throat symptoms different in children compared to adults?
- When should I be concerned about a possible strep throat?
- How is strep throat diagnosed?
- Who should be tested for strep throat?
- How is strep infection treated?
- How can viral throat infection be treated?
- Are there any recommended strep throat remedies and symptom reducers?
- When should the tonsils be removed?
- Why is it very important to detect and treat a strep throat?
- What are the potential complications of untreated strep throat infection?
- Is there a vaccine for strep throat?
- Can strep throat be prevented?
- Just a Sore Throat or Strep - Slideshow
- Take the Strep Throat Infection Quiz!
- Infectious Mononucleosis - Slideshow
- Strep Throat (Streptococcal) Infection FAQs
When should the tonsils be removed?
Surgical removal of the tonsils is much less common today thanks to the ability to rapidly and accurately diagnose strep infection, and to the excellent antibiotic coverage currently available. But occasionally, your doctor might suggest the need for surgical removal of the tonsils (tonsillectomy) if an individual:
- is experiencing more than five documented strep throat infections in a 12 month period;
- has tonsils that are so large, even when the individual is well, that they cause not just "snoring" but significant obstruction or blockage of the airway during sleep (sleep apnea); or
- develops an uncommon but serious deep-seated infection within and surrounding one or both of the tonsils, called a "peri-tonsillar abscess."
Why is it very important to detect and treat a strep throat?
Studies have shown that if antibiotic treatment is started within the first 48 hours of symptoms, the duration of the symptoms is reduced by one to two days. If untreated, the body's immune system will generally clear the infection within 5 to 7 days.
Another reason to treat strep infection early is that there is a 35% reduction in transmitting the disease to another. Reports indicate that after 24 hours of antibiotics individuals become minimally contagious.
There are many potential sequelae (complications) of untreated strep infection described in the complications section.
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