Strep Throat Symptoms

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

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:

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.


Just about any painful sore throat is caused by strep. See Answer

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).

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