In the United States, there are between 11,000 to 13,000 cases of strep throat each year.
Strep throat is an infection that is caused by the Streptococcus bacteria. It is infectious and spread through respiratory droplets. That means you can catch strep throat by breathing it in, touching something with droplets on it and then touching your face, or if you eat or drink after an infected person.
You should never have strep throat left untreated. Strep throat requires antibiotics to go away and left untreated, can worsen into other problems.
Strep throat will not go away all by itself. If you leave it untreated, you might find yourself dealing with reoccurring strep throat for months on end.
The most common antibiotic for strep throat is amoxicillin. Antibiotics help to decrease how long you’re infected, ease the symptoms, and also prevent the bacteria from spreading to others or worsening into something else.
If you fail to treat strep throat, you might end up suffering from:
If strep throat isn’t treated, the bacteria are left to continue to populate the throat region unchecked. The bacteria can end up creating a persistent immune response from the body.
If this happens, the body can end up in overdrive and mistake organs and joints as part of the infection and attack them. When this happens, you can have inflammation of the joints or arthritis develop.
When the bacteria attacks organs, this can sometimes end up being the heart. If the heart valves are damaged, potential heart failure can result.
This complication occurs when strep throat bacteria move into the inner ear and cause an ear infection. Bacteria in the inner ear can cause severe pain, dizziness, and nausea.
If strep throat is left unchecked, it can worsen into meningitis. Meningitis occurs when the fluid surrounding the membranes of the brain and spinal cord become infected. In some rare cases, meningitis can be fatal.
When the bacteria that cause strep throat move into the lungs, this can cause pneumonia. Pneumonia is when the air sacs in one or both lungs are inflamed. The air sacs can fill with fluid or pus, making breathing laborious.
In rare cases, the bacteria can enter your bloodstream. If the bacteria release toxins in multiple organs while in the bloodstream, it causes toxic shock syndrome. This results in catastrophic organ failure.
Strep throat left untreated can result in life-threatening conditions. You should always seek out medical attention if you believe you have strep throat. A few days of taking antibiotics is far better than the alternative: suffering for weeks on end or your condition becoming life-threatening.
If you live in the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana, Coastal Urgent Care has a wide range of medical services to help you. Urgent Care is open seven days a week from 9 am to 8 pm.