How Long Is Strep Throat Contagious?
Strep throat takes an incubation period of 2-3 days before it starts pre.senting its signs and symptoms. During this short time, an infected person may unknowingly share the germs with people around them.
The brief incubation period is dependent of when you take antibiotics. Strep throat is scientifically known as Group A Streptococcus (GAS) and is transmitted by a bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes.
Despite the fact that the infection is contagious from the start, you should take extreme care not to contaminate others once the symptoms start presenting themselves. Such symptoms include a sore throat and may cause strep thought if left untreated
How do I know that I have Strep Throat?
If a sore throat is accompanied by other symptoms such as a running nose, diarrhea, pink eyes, or hoarseness, you are most likely not suffering from a strep throat infection.
This means that the doctor must carry out extra tests to confirm the potential probability of a viral infection. In that case, the use of antibiotics is unnecessary. In case there are no signs of a viral infection, the following symptoms can confirm the possibility of a strep throat infection.
- Abdominal pains
- Redness around the nose
- White spots on your tonsils
- Purple and red patches on the roof your mouth
- Sore throat
- Large nymph nodes
Who does strep throat target?
Strep throat is mostly identified in young children aged between 5 and 15 years and constitutes 90-95% of all reported strep throat cases. The remaining 5-10% makes up for the adult cases.
Strep throat manifests differently depending on the age of the affected individual. With this regard, special considerations should be taken when treating patients of different ages.
1. In adults
Fewer symptoms such as a mild sore throat are present. In severe cases, severe symptoms may appear.
2. In teenagers
Strep throat at this stage can be uncomfortable, with individuals always complaining of severe sore throats. High fever makes people look ill-like.
3. In children
In most cases, children often complain of sore throats and painful swallowing. They may also lose appetite and always complain of abdominal pains.
Cases of strep throat at this stage are few. In the event of an infection, infants may feed less and appear fussy and irritable. A nasal discharge accompanied by low-grade fever may also be present.
Do I need to use Antibiotics to cure strep throats?
That said, it is rare to find doctors who prescribe antibiotics right away. However, when antibiotics are prescribed, they help to prevent “Super Bugs” or antibiotic resistant bacteria from developing.
To test for strep throat infection, the doctor needs to carry out a strep test. If the results are positive for strep throat, the doctor is most likely going to prescribe Amoxicillin, Penicillin V or other antibiotics that are recognized for their efficiency.
On the other hand, if the results are negative and there is the probability of a viral infection, then, the doctor may decide to prescribe for other forms of medication other than the use of antibiotics.
For how long will I remain contagious?
In the case of a positive strep throat diagnosis, you will stop being contagious 24 hours after using an antibiotic. The antibiotics should elevate your health and reduce the symptoms within 2-3 days after taking them although this is not faithful to everyone as some may take up to one week to show improvement.
Without any form of treatment, the infection may heal by itself in about a week’s time. If there is no improvement within 48 hours after taking the antibiotics, contact your physician for further tests and assistance.
If you are on antibiotics and the night before returning to work you do not have a fever, then it is safe to say that the antibiotics are taking effect and there is a high probability that you will not be contagious.
However, if you feel somewhat feverish and heavy laden on the night before returning to school or work, then, there is a high likelihood that you are still contagious and may spread the infection to schoolmates or work colleagues. You should therefore not return to school or work but, instead, seek further medical assistance.
It is not always easy to stay away from your friends in case you have a strep throat infection. You can count yourself contagious if you have a fever or have not taken antibiotics within the past 24 hours. That said, if you know you are infected and will still be around other people, here are some tips that can help you not to get your friends sick as well.
- Do not share utensils such as glass, spoons or plates with other people.
- Thorough washing of the hands using soap and other hand sanitizers
- Always cover your mouth using a clean cloth, handkerchief, napkin or Kleenex when sneezing or coughing. In case you cover your mouthing using your hands, make sure you thoroughly clean wash them.
Altogether, the best solution would be to avoid interactions with other people. As this may prove difficult to a whole lot of people, the above tips may come in handy to drastically reduce the risk of transmitting strep throat to family or friends.
Strep throat is spread using droplets that are sneezed, coughed, or shared in any other type of way. In essence, every activity that involves voluntary or involuntary contact and transfer of saliva such as kissing, touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth, drinking from similar glasses, or sharing silverware can lead to transmission. Children have a higher percentage chance (50 percent) of infecting fellow siblings.
Treatment using antibiotics should commence nine days after the onset of you symptoms failure to which complications such as rheumatic heart disease and recurrent strep may occur.
Also, inability to complete the full course of antibiotics may lead to the formation of a resistant strain of bacteria, “superbugs,” that are much difficult to treat.
- Is it strep throat? (2015, October 19). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/features/strepthroat/.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015, December 16). Strep throat – symptoms and causes. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/strep-throat/symptoms-causes/dxc-20165964.
- Pasquariello Jr., P. S. (2015, March 3). Strep throat: Do you really know the symptoms? Retrieved from http://www.chop.edu/news/strep-throat-do-you-really-know-symptoms#.V7bJZ5MrKV5.
- Stead, W. (2016, July). Patient information: Sore throat in adults (beyond the basics). Retrieved from http://www.uptodate.com/contents/sore-throat-in-adults-beyond-the-basics.
- Strep throat. (2014, June). Retrieve from http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/strep-throat.html.
- Strep throat test. (2016, July 18). Retrieved from https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/strep/tab/test/.