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Strep Throat


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


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You have trouble breathing.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have new symptoms like a bad headache, stiff neck, chest pain, or vomiting.
  • You are drooling because you cannot swallow your spit.

Contact your healthcare provider 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.


  • Antibiotics help treat your strep throat. You should feel better within 2 to 3 days after you start antibiotics.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Rest more than usual.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Drink juice, milk shakes, tea, 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.

Return to work or school

24 hours after you start antibiotic medicine.

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.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2015 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.

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.