Avoiding Serious Complications of Strep Throat
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that can make your throat feel sore and scratchy. It can be hard to distinguish strep throat from a sore throat, but it is important to know the difference for a number of reasons. Although complications from strep throat are rare, if left untreated, strep throat can lead to a variety of serious medical conditions.
Strep throat typically occurs in children between the ages of 5 and 15, but people of all ages can get it.
Strep Throat: It’s Complicated
Strep throat is caused by bacteria and is highly contagious. It can be spread easily through coughs and sneezes or through shared food or drinks. It is also possible to become infected after picking up bacteria from a doorknob or other shared surface and then touching your face.
If you have strep throat you will likely have:
- Throat pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils
- Tiny red spots on the back of the roof of the mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
Untreated strep throat can lead a variety of complications, including:
- Spread of infection – The bacteria that cause strep throat could spread to other parts of the body including the ears, tonsils, sinuses, skin, lymph nodes, and blood.
- Scarlet fever – A bacterial disease caused by strep throat that is characterized by a bright red rash.
- Rheumatic fever – A rare inflammatory disease caused by untreated strep that can cause damage to the heart.
- Toxic Shock Syndrome – A rare, often life-threatening illness that develops suddenly after a bacterial infection and can rapidly affect several different organ systems, including the lungs, kidneys, and liver.
For life threatening situations, call 911 or go to the nearest ER. If complications are not life threatening but still require medical attention, come to FastMed for prompt treatment and to avoid any future complications. Prompt medical treatment from a FastMed medical professional can have you feeling better fast. With our rapid strep testing, FastMed can diagnose strep throat in as few as 10 minutes. Our staff is available 7 days a week to address any sudden on-set or last-minute health care issues.