About Strep Throat: Treatment and Prevention
The vast majority of streptococcal throat infections will go away on their own even without treatment, and the chance of rheumatic fever or meningitis is extremely small even if you don't go to the doctor. Studies in Ontario show that about 86% of sore throats never get seen by a doctor, yet hardly any of these untreated patients develop complications.
Most of the people given antibiotics for sore throat don't have bacterial infections, so they can't possibly benefit from these drugs. They can, however, be harmed by antibiotics, which leave the body more vulnerable to infection. You shouldn't take antibiotics for a sore throat unless you've had bacterial infection properly diagnosed with a throat swab.
These tips may help people to stay healthy in the presence of the streptococcus bacteria:
- Children with the illness should be taught to cover their nose and mouth if they cough.
- People with strep throat and those around them should wash their hands frequently.
- Children with strep throat shouldn't go to school until they've been on antibiotics for 24 hours.
- Anyone taking antibiotics should finish the prescription even if symptoms are gone.
- If you're taking antibiotics, consider replacing the "good" bacteria in your stomach. You can do this by eating yogurt containing live Lactobacillus acidophilus. Most pharmacies also sell capsules containing this helpful bacteria.