Strep Throat - Topic Overview
Doctors usually treat strep throat with
antibiotics. Antibiotics shorten
the time you are able to spread the disease to others (are contagious) and
lower the risk of spreading the infection to other parts of your body. Antibiotics also may help you feel better faster.
You are contagious while you still have symptoms. Most people stop being
contagious 24 hours after they start antibiotics. If you don't take
antibiotics, you may be contagious for 2 to 3 weeks, even if your symptoms go
Your doctor may also advise you to take an over-the-counter
medicine like acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil or
Motrin) to help with pain and lower your fever. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Do not give aspirin to anyone
younger than 20. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
To avoid getting
strep throat, it is a good idea to avoid contact with anyone who has a strep
infection. If you are around someone who has strep, wash your hands often.
Don't drink from the same glass or use the same eating utensils. And don't
Bacteria can live for a short time on
doorknobs, water faucets, and other objects. It's a good idea to wash your
If you have a strep infection, there are things
you can do to avoid spreading it to others. Use tissues you can throw away
instead of handkerchiefs, wash your hands often, and do not sneeze or cough on
others. Antibiotics can shorten the time that you are contagious. It is a good
idea to stay home from work or school until 24 hours after you have started