What Happens If Strep Throat Is Left Untreated?

Have you recently woken up with a sore, scratchy throat? If so, how worried should you be about strep throat?

Sore throats are common during this time of year, and they’re especially common in this ever-changing, southern-winter weather. Learn more about strep throat and its potential complications from our AFC Urgent Care Athens, TN team below!

What Is Strep Throat?

According to the CDC, strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by bacteria called group A Streptococcus.

Strep lives in the nose and throat and can be spread by coughing or sneezing, which spreads respiratory droplets into the air that contain the strep bacteria. If you experience any of the symptoms that we’ve listed below, you likely have strep throat.

Common Strep Throat Symptoms

  • Sudden sore throat
  • Red tonsils that have white spots on them
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Fever
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain

Is Strep Throat Dangerous?

Strep throat is a highly treatable infection, but—like any sickness—it can cause health problems.

Since strep throat is a bacterial infection, you will need antibioitics to successfully rid your body of the bacteria. If you have experienced any of the above symptoms, you likely have strep throat. Our AFC center offers affordable, rapid strep throat testing, so visit us today to get an accurate diagnosis!

Potential Complications Caused By Untreated Strep Throat

  • Abscesses (infected pockets) in your throat
  • Infected lymph nodes in the neck
  • Middle ear infection
  • Sinus infection
  • Rheumatic fever, which can cause damage to the heart, joints, nervous system and skin. This is rare, and it occurs mainly in children ages 5 to 15.
  • Scarlet fever—a bright red, sandpaper-like rash that starts on the face and neck and spreads through the body; it can be caused by strep throat or strep skin infections.
  • Toxic shock syndrome—a rare but potentially life-threatening condition caused by strep bacteria releasing toxins into the body.

Need a rapid strep test? Don’t hesitate to stop by our AFC center today!