How Serious Is Strep Throat?

January 18, 2022

How Serious Is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a common infection, and it’s most common among children. In fact, about 3 in 10 children with a sore throat actually have strep throat, according to the CDC.

Strep throat is a highly treatable infection, and it typically won’t cause many serious complications if it’s taken care of quickly and correctly. Our AFC Urgent Care Farragut team provides more helpful information about strep throat below, so keep reading!

What Is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is caused by bacteria called group A streptococcus. They most often spread by airborne droplets, but they can also be spread by contact as well.

Strep throat is more common during the winter seasons, so it’s important to be on the lookout for the symptoms that we’ve listed below.

Common Strep Throat Symptoms

  • A sudden fever, especially if it’s 101˚F or higher
  • A sore, red throat with white patches
  • A headache
  • Chills
  • A loss of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Trouble swallowing

What Happens If Strep Throat Isn’t Treated?

Since strep throat is a bacterial infection, it needs to be treated to limit spread to other parts of the body. If strep bacteria spreads, it can lead to serious complications, such as the ones we listed in the section below.

To reduce your risk of getting strep throat this winter, it’s important to stick to proper hygiene, such as washing your hands often, avoiding people who are sick, covering your mouth when you cough and not sharing personal items.

Complications Caused By Untreated Strep Throat

  • Rheumatic fever—an autoimmune disease that may develop after a strep throat infection. It’s especially common among children ages 5-15, although older teens and adults may develop the disease.
  • Otitis media—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.
  • Meningitis—occurs when the fluid surrounding the membranes of the brain and spinal cord become infected. In rare cases, meningitis can be fatal.
  • Pneumonia—when the bacteria that cause strep throat move into the lungs.
  • Toxic shock syndrome—in rare cases, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream. If the bacteria release toxins in multiple organs while in the bloodstream, it causes toxic shock syndrome, which can result in catastrophic organ failure.

Do you need a rapid strep test? We provide them at AFC Urgent Care Farragut, so don’t hesitate to get yours today! No appointments are required.

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