Common symptoms of strep throat
Strep throat is a common bacterial infection. Symptoms of strep throat include severe throat pain, fever, swollen glands in the neck, a bright red throat, and white or yellow patches on the back of the throat. It is usually NOT accompanied by cough or sneezing.
Complications of untreated strep throat
The main complications of untreated strep throat occur when the bacteria spreads. This includes:
- middle ear infection (otitis media),
- sinus infection (sinusitis),
- cellulitis, or
- abscess of the tonsils or pharynx.
More rare and serious complications of untreated strep throat include
How long should strep throat symptoms typically last?
Strep throat symptoms usually last from two to five days. Antibiotics are the first line treatment and while they may not reduce the duration of symptoms, you should be less contagious within 24 hours of starting treatment. Take all prescribed antibiotics, even if you feel better before you are finished. If symptoms do not improve within three days of taking antibiotics, see your doctor again.
Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease
UpToDate. Strep throat in children: The basics.
UpToDate. Complications of streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis.
UpToDate. Patient information: Sore throat in adults (Beyond the Basics).