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Strep Throat Complications - Topic Overview

Complications of strep throat are rare but can occur, especially if strep throat is not properly treated with antibiotics. Complications can be related either to the strep infection or to the body's immune response to the infection.

Complications related to the strep infection

Although rare, complications can result from the strep infection spreading to other areas of the body. Infection can spread to the:

Other, more rare, complications include:

Complications related to the body's immune response to strep bacteria

Sometimes in response to a strep infection, the body's immune system will attack healthy tissues, causing complications such as rheumatic fever, inflammation of the kidneys (glomerulonephritis), or pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS).

  • In rare cases, untreated strep may progress to rheumatic fever. Antibiotic therapy begun as late as 9 days after the start of a strep infection will prevent rheumatic fever.1
  • Glomerulonephritis may occur after infection with certain strains of strep bacteria. These infections may include a strep infection of the skin (such as impetigo), usually during the summer months, or the throat (such as strep throat), usually during the winter months. The condition is relatively rare and goes away without treatment. But some complications may require treatment. Treatment of strep infection may not prevent inflammation of the kidneys.
  • PANDAS is a term used to describe what happens with some children who have symptoms of certain disorders that get worse following infections such as strep throat or scarlet fever. The disorders whose symptoms get worse include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and tic disorders such as Tourette's syndrome.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 02, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

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    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

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