Symptoms of strep throat usually begin within 2 to 5 days after you come in contact with someone who has a strep infection. Strep throat usually goes away in 3 to 7 days with or without antibiotic treatment. In contrast, if allergies or irritants are the cause of your sore throat, it will usually last longer unless the cause is eliminated.
If strep throat isn't treated with antibiotics, you will continue to be contagious for 2 to 3 weeks even if your symptoms go away. You are much less contagious within 24 hours after you start antibiotics and are less likely to develop complications of the strep infection.
Complications of strep throat
Reference Complications of strep throat are rare but can occur, especially if your throat infection isn't properly treated with antibiotics. Complications can occur when the strep infection spreads to other parts of the body and causes other infections, such as an ear or sinus infection or an Reference abscess Opens New Window near the tonsils (Reference peritonsillar abscess Opens New Window). Complications can also result in your Reference immune system Opens New Window attacking itself and causing serious conditions such as Reference rheumatic fever Opens New Window.
Treating strep throat can greatly reduce your risk for rheumatic fever and its complications. It is not clear whether treating the strep infection with antibiotics reduces your risk for inflammation of the kidneys (acute Reference glomerulonephritis Opens New Window).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 31, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology