When to See a Doctor for Strep Throat

If you have strep throat or think you do, you should be experiencing a full sensation in your throat, a painfully sore throat, swollen glands in your neck, and a fever of up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Then it’s time to see the doctor and make sure you get an appointment for the day of the onset of your symptoms or the day after at the very latest. If this isn’t possible, go to an urgent care center or emergency room to be seen for the treatment of the symptoms.

At that time, the doctor will examine you and will probably do a Quick Strep test or a throat culture. A Quick Strep test is a test that comes back within fifteen minutes or so and can detect the presence of group B streptococcus on a cotton swab. After swabbing your tonsils, the doctor will send the swab off to the lab and the tests will be done. You can find out if you have strep throat fairly quickly and can be placed on an antibiotic.

The antibiotics the doctor chooses will be either an erythromycin based antibiotic such as erythromycin itself or azythromycin, which is Zithromax. Penicillin based antibiotics can also be used. Cephalosporins are popular as there isn’t as much resistance to those antibiotics. Tell the doctor if you are allergic to any antibiotics and the right antibiotic will be picked out for you.

You can expect to get better within a week or so even though the antibiotic is given generally for a ten day period of time. It’s vitally important to take the whole course of antibiotics even though you may feel better after a week’s period of time because you need time for the antibiotic to kill the bacteria that are harbored in the crypts or recesses of the tonsils. These bacteria can, if left unchecked, start a case of strep throat up again and you’ll be back where you started. The whole course of antibiotics must be taken also because the resistant bacteria are killed last and if you stop taking the antibiotics, the next case of strep throat you get (which will be soon following the previous one) will be much harder to treat and you will be sicker for longer the next time around.

One of the reasons why you should see a doctor if you think you have strep throat is that it usually does not get better by itself. You can come down with rheumatic fever, which is a complication of strep throat that causes heart valve problems and heart failure. Not all cases of strep throat will lead to rheumatic fever. Other cases of strep throat can lead to strep glomerulonephritis, which is a kidney disease that can come from an untreated case of strep throat.

The most common complication of untreated strep throat is a peritonsillar abscess. This is a collection of bacteria that are harbored in the back of the tonsils, causing swelling of the space between the tonsil and the neck tissues. Such an abscess must be treated by excision, which could mean having surgery to correct the abscess.