Strep Throat

What is strep throat?

Strep throat is a throat infection caused by bacteria. It is easily spread from person to person.


What are the signs and symptoms of strep throat?

  • Sore, red, and swollen throat

  • Fever and headache

  • Upset stomach, abdominal pain, or vomiting

  • White or yellow patches or blisters in the back of your throat

  • Tender, swollen lumps on the sides of your neck or jaw

  • Throat pain when you swallow

How is strep throat diagnosed?

Your caregiver will swab the back of your throat to test for strep bacteria. You may get the results in minutes or days.


How is strep throat treated?

You will need antibiotic medicine to treat your strep throat. You should feel better within 2 to 3 days after you start antibiotics. Take your antibiotics until they are gone, even if you feel better. Do this unless your caregiver says it is okay to stop your antibiotics. You may return to work or school 24 hours after you start antibiotics.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Rest more than usual.

  • Do not smoke.

  • Drink juice, milk shakes, or soup if your throat is too sore to eat solid food.

  • Gargle with a small amount of warm salt water. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 cup of warm water to make salt water.

  • Suck on crushed ice, hard candy, cough drops, or throat lozenges.

How do I prevent the spread of strep throat?

  • Do not share food or drinks.

  • Wash your hands often.

  • Replace your toothbrush after you have taken antibiotics for 24 hours.

What are the risks of strep throat?

Without treatment, you could have heart, kidney, or joint problems because of the strep bacteria.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have a rash or ear pain.

  • You have green, yellow-brown, or bloody mucus when you cough or blow your nose.

  • You are unable to drink anything.

When should I seek immediate help?

Seek immediate help or call 911 if:

  • You have trouble breathing.

  • You have new symptoms like a bad headache, stiff neck, chest pain, or vomiting.

  • You are drooling because you cannot swallow your spit.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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