How Well Do Antibiotics Work To Treat A Sore Throat
Antibiotics don’t work at all for a sore throat caused by a virus. These kinds of sore throats usually go away on their own in 4 to 5 days.
If you have strep throatwhich is caused by bacteriayour doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, such as penicillin. But strep throat goes away on its own in 3 to 7 days with or without antibiotics.
Antibiotics may not make you well faster. But they may shorten the time you are able to spread strep throat to others by a day or so.
Antibiotics may also lower the risk of a bacterial infection spreading to other parts of your body, such as your ears and sinuses. They can also prevent serious but rare problems such as rheumatic fever in children.
Antibiotics may cause side effects, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and skin rashes.
Besides side effects, there are other good reasons not to use antibiotics unless you really need them.
- Antibiotics cost money.
- You will probably have to see the doctor to get a prescription. This costs you time.
- If you take antibiotics when you don’t need them, they may not work when you do need them. Each time you take antibiotics, you are more likely to carry some bacteria that were not killed by the medicine. Over time, these bacteria get tougher and can cause longer and more serious infections. To treat them, you may need different, stronger, and more costly antibiotics.
Antibiotics For Strep Throat: Uses Dosage And Side Effects
Strep throat is a common type of infection that develops both in children as well as adults. It is a type of infection that develops in the throat and tonsils caused by bacteria- group A Streptococcus.
The bacteria can enter the body by breathing in air droplets or touching an infected surface.
Up to 3 in 10 children with a sore throat have strep throat.
~Center for Disease Control
What Is Recurring Strep Throat
Strep throat that isn’t cured after just one round of antibiotics or occurs several times each year can be deemed as recurring strep throat. Someone who develops strep throat again and again can also have a strep throat that recurs.
Experts now know that strep throat that recurs can be due to one of more than one factors. In some cases, you contract bacteria in resistant form or the antibiotic failed for certain reason. It is also possible that you have a weak immune system or you or a family member of you is a strep carrier.
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Best Antibiotics For Strep Throat
Dr. Umer Khan
Dr. Umer Khan
Medically reviewed by Dr Umer Khan, MD who is a Board Certified physician practicing in Pennsylvania. His special interests include wellness, longevity and medical IT.
Strep throat is a bacterial infection that can lead to throat pain, painful swallowing, and swollen lymph nodes around the neck. While strep throat is typically treated with a combination of at-home treatment and medication, antibiotics are the best way to get rid of strep throat.
If youre worried that you or your child may have strep throat, its important to know which antibiotics are going to help you start feeling better. Read on to learn which strep throat antibiotics your doctor may prescribe to effectively manage your symptoms.
Argument #: Antibiotics Reduce Symptomology
The most important thing to recognize is that in the vast majority of patients, strep throat is a self limited disease that will get better in about 7 days with no treatment . The addition of antibiotics provides a modest benefit in terms of symptomology resolution . This benefit, however, is in comparison to placebo, which is not standard care. Supportive therapies including acetaminophen and NSAIDs may affect symptom improvement but there are no good studies on this. Finally, we must not forget about the potential additional side effects associated with antibiotics .
One therapy that has shown remarkable benefits in terms of symptoms is the use of corticosteroids. Hayward et al showed that corticosteroids increased the rate of symptom resolution at 24 hours with an NNT = 4 .
Bottom Line: If we are interested in making the patients symptoms resolve faster, corticosteroids are our best bet. I typically give 10 mg of decadron IM.
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Causes & Symptoms Of Strep Throat
Strep throat is an infection of the throat and tonsils. Its caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, also called group A strep. The group A strep bacteria is very contagious. It spreads through contact after an infected person coughs, sneezes, touches your mouth, nose or eyes. The bacteria also spreads by sharing a glass, utensil, plate or even a doorknob. This is why strep throat seems to happen more often in the colder months when people tend to be in closer quarters.
Strep throat symptoms typically start within five days of exposure to the strep bacteria symptoms include :
- Sore throat and difficulty swallowing
- Red and swollen tonsils
- Red spots on the roof of the mouth and a white or yellow coating on the throat and tonsils
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or above
- Headache and body aches
- Non-itching, red rash, which is a sign of scarlet fever. Scarlet fever is a serious bacterial infection.
Argument #: Antibiotics Reduce The Rate Of Suppurative Complications
There are a number of potential complications associated with strep throat including acute otitis media , sinusitis and peritonsilar abscess .
|NNT = 28||NNT = 55 225|
A more recent study demonstrated an overall suppurative complication rate of 1.3% and no difference in patients who received antibiotics versus those that did not .
Bottom Line: It appears that we would have to treat 100s of patients to prevent one PTA an easily treatable entity.
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What Else Do You Need To Make Your Decision
Check the facts
- You’re right. Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Most of the time, sore throats go away on their own. It may take a few days or up to a week, depending on the cause.
- You’re right. Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Taking antibiotics too often or when you don’t need them can be harmful and costly. The medicine may not work the next time you take it when you really do need it.
- Sorry, that’s not right. Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
- You’re right. Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as a cold. Antibiotics won’t work for sore throats caused by a virus.
What Can Make My Sore Throat Feel Better
Here are some things that might help you feel better:
- Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain and reduce fever. Children should not take aspirin. Aspirin can cause a serious illness called Reyes syndrome when it is given to children younger than 18 years of age.
- Gargle with warm salt water .
- Adults and older children can suck on throat lozenges, hard candy, pieces of ice, or popsicles.
- Eat soft foods and drink cool drinks or warm liquids .
- Get plenty of rest. Sleep helps your body fight infection.
- Drink plenty of water. This helps keep your throat lubricated and helps prevent dehydration.
- Avoid acidic or spicy foods and drinks .
Strep Throat Vs Sore Throat
Sore throats are pain in the throat that is typically caused by a virus. It can be due to bacteria, allergies, pollution or throat dryness. Strep throat is an infection of the throat caused by bacteria. Sore throat is a symptom of strep throat and its also a symptom of other respiratory conditions. Both are contagious they can be passed from person to person in any place with close contact.
Not many people with sore throats have bacterial infections. According to the Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement, viruses cause 85 to 95 percent of throat infections in adults and children younger than 5 years of age. Viruses cause about 70 percent of throat infections in those aged 5 to 15 years, with the other 30 percent due to bacterial infections, mostly group A strep. Natural sore throat remedies should be your first choice, as antibiotic treatment will not help a viral infection.
It can be hard to tell the difference between strep throat symptoms and symptoms of a viral infection. Remember, while trying to make a self-diagnosis, that strep throat doesnt include cold symptoms, like coughing, sneezing or runny nose. If you have a sore throat with cold symptoms, its likely caused by a viral infection and its not strep throat. Try strep throat home remedies to find some relief from your symptoms.
Is Strep Throat Contagious
Strep throat can be contagious for about 2-3 weeks in individuals who are not taking antibiotics. However, individuals who do take antibiotics for strep throat usually are no longer contagious about 24- 48 hours after initiating antibiotic therapy. The bacteria that cause strep throat can be transmitted person-to-person by direct contact, especially from mucus droplets from the mouth and indirect contact, such as kissing and sharing utensils or drinking cups.
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What Is Rheumatic Fever
Rheumatic fever can develop following a Strep throat infection or scarlet fever. Although rare in the contiguous U.S., the disease is still prevalent in children of Samoan descent living in Hawaii and residents of American Samoa.
Symptoms of rheumatic fever usually show 14 to 28 days after a Strep infection. Because the bacteria trick the body’s immune system into attacking healthy tissues, the disease can affect the heart, joints, skin, and brain.
Symptoms of rheumatic fever include:
Argument #: Antibiotics Reduce The Rate Of Non
The two major non-suppurative complications are: Post-strep Glomerulonephritis and rheumatic fever . No study has ever shown that PSGN can be prevented and so, we are left with RF.
Evidence for preventing RF and subsequent rheumatic heart disease comes from a series of studies performed in the 1950s at the Warren Air Force Base. In this military population, investigators found that 2% of patients with strep throat developed RF. With antibiotics, this rate fell to 1% giving an absolute risk reduction of 1% and an NNT of 50-60 to prevent RF . The work done by these researchers forms the basis for treatment over the last five decades.
However, we must ask the question of whether these studies apply to our patients today. The rate of RHD in the westernized world is exquisitely low. In fact, the CDC stopped tracking the incidence in 1995 when it fell below 1 per million. Numerous RCTs in
developed countries have shown no cases of RF or RHD in patients treated with placebo .
Based on the current incidence of RF in the US, we would need to treat about 2 million patients with strep throat in order to prevent a single case of RF. In addition, only 1 out of every 3 patients who develops RF will subsequently develop RHD. Treating millions of patients with pharyngitis in the pursuit prevention of single digit cases of RHD in the western world makes no sense.
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Description Of The Intervention
The slight benefit of treatment with antibiotics in patients with GABHS sore throat may be considered relevant. When antibiotics are indicated, a choice needs to be made. In that case, several aspects need to be considered, such as the comparative benefitharm balance, costs, and local antimicrobial resistance patterns. Many guidelines recommend penicillin as a first choice, with erythromycin preferred for people who are allergic to penicillin . To date, resistance of GABHS to penicillin has only been documented incidentally , and resistance to erythromycin is still low . Considering the growing problem of antibiotic resistance for other pathogens, this responsiveness of GABHS should not be endangered . Penicillin and erythromycin are cheap and the most costeffective option. Despite this, physicians continue to prescribe broadspectrum antibiotics, including recently marketed ones. It is not clear if these antibiotics have any substantial clinical benefit over penicillin .
When Should You Go To An Omaha Urgent Care For Strep Throat
Individuals with a sore throat, especially if accompanied by fever or other associated symptoms, should consider consulting a healthcare professional. It is often too difficult to know definitively whether or not strep throat is present without a professional evaluation. Furthermore, there are other serious causes of sore throat that may require alternative treatments . Finally, consider seeking medical advice if a person has been treated for strep throat and has not improved within 4 to 5 days.
If a person has a sore throat or if they have been diagnosed with strep throat, and have any of the following signs or symptoms, they should immediately seek care in a hospitals emergency department:
- Difficulty breathing
- Bleeding in the throat
- Swelling or redness of the neck
Although some of these signs and symptoms may be related to a strep throat infection, they can also be indicators of other emergent conditions such as peritonsillar abscess, epiglottitis, tracheitis, or retropharyngeal abscess.
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Data Collection And Analysis
Two review authors independently screened trials for inclusion, and extracted data using standard methodological procedures as recommended by Cochrane. We assessed risk of bias of included studies according to the methods outlined in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions and used the GRADE tool to assess the overall quality of evidence for the outcomes.
Children And Certain Adults Are At Increased Risk
Anyone can get strep throat, but there are some factors that can increase the risk of getting this common infection.
Strep throat is more common in children than adults. It is most common in children 5 through 15 years old. It is rare in children younger than 3 years old. Adults who are at increased risk for strep throat include:
- Parents of school-aged children
- Adults who are often in contact with children
Close contact with another person with strep throat is the most common risk factor for illness. For example, if someone has strep throat, it often spreads to other people in their household.
Infectious illnesses tend to spread wherever large groups of people gather together. Crowded conditions can increase the risk of getting a group A strep infection. These settings include:
- Up to 3 in 10 children with a sore throat have strep throat
- About 1 in 10 adults with a sore throat has strep throat
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Other Sore Throats Don’t Need Special Medicine So Why Does Strep Throat
Most sore throats are caused by viruses, which cannot be cured with medicine you can only relieve the aches and pains. Viruses heal on their own and cannot be cured with antibiotics or other medicines.
Strep throat is caused by a bacterium. Infections caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Strep throat can lead to more serious illnesses, so it’s important to get it treated.
How Can I Relieve My Strep Throat
To help soothe your sore throat and shorten the duration of suffering, you can
- Gargle with warm salty water three times to relieve discomfort and pain.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Eat cool and soft food to ease swallowing.
- Avoid smoking or smoky places.
- Use over-the-counter medicated lozenges or a throat spray.
- Use medicines to reduce your fever such as paracetamol. You should avoid using these medications in children without consulting your pediatrician.
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What Is Scarlet Fever
Scarlet fever is the name given to a bright red rash that develops following a Strep throat, although it can also develop following school sores .
Scarlet fever is less common than it was one hundred years ago because of antibiotic use and it only occurs in those who are susceptible to the toxins produced by the Streptococcal bacteria. It mostly occurs in children aged 4 to 8 years. By 10 years old more than 80% of children have developed lifelong protective antibodies against streptococcal toxins, whilst infants younger than 2 still have antibodies against the toxin that they acquired from their mother. This means that if two children in one family develop Strep throat, only one may develop scarlet fever.
Scarlet fever is a bright red rash that feels like sandpaper to the touch. The rash typically starts on the neck, underarm, or groin as small, flat red blotches that gradually become fine bumps and feel rough to the touch. In the body folds the rash may appear a brighter red . Facial flushing is common although a pale area may remain around the mouth. After seven days, the rash fades and some skin peeling may occur over the next month or longer, particularly around the fingertips, toes, and groin area.
Left untreated, Scarlet fever may progress to:
- Ear, sinus, and skin infections
- Joint inflammation
- Rheumatic fever
- Otitis media