Will Strep Throat Cause Serious Problems If It Isn't Treated?

Strep throat is a common infection among children, but adults can certainly get it, too.

This bacterial infection is more common during the winter months, and it should be treated sooner rather than later to prevent serious potential side effects.

Our AFC Urgent Care South Charlotte team provides further information on strep throat below, so keep reading!

What Should I Know About Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that is caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, which causes throat pain and inflammation. It is highly contagious, and it spreads through the air and by close contact.

While the overall symptoms of strep throat vary a little bit, the first symptoms typically remain consistent. In many cases, the first symptoms of this infection are a sore throat, difficulty swallowing and a fever. We’ve listed some other common symptoms of strep throat below.

Common Strep Throat Symptoms

  • Sudden sore, red throat with white patches
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Trouble swallowing

How Bad Is It to Leave Strep Throat Untreated?

It’s definitely not good or safe to do so. Since strep throat is a bacterial infection, the bacteria can spread throughout the body and cause the below-mentioned complications if it isn’t treated in a timely manner.

If you experience strep throat symptoms, it’s important to get a strep throat test ASAP to confirm your diagnosis. Our AFC center offers molecular, rapid strep tests that provide accurate results in 15 minutes or less.

Complications Caused By Untreated Strep Throat

  • Rheumatic fever—an autoimmune disease that may develop after a strep throat infection. It’s especially common among children ages 5–15, although older teens and adults may develop the disease.
  • Otitis media—when strep throat bacteria move into the inner ear and cause an ear infection. Bacteria in the inner ear can cause severe pain, dizziness and nausea.
  • Meningitis—occurs when the fluid surrounding the membranes of the brain and spinal cord become infected. In rare cases, meningitis can be fatal.
  • Pneumonia—when the bacteria that cause strep throat move into the lungs.
  • Toxic shock syndrome—in rare cases, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream. If the bacteria release toxins in multiple organs while in the bloodstream, it causes toxic shock syndrome, which can result in catastrophic organ failure.

Need a strep test? You don’t need an appointment to get one at our AFC center, so don’t hesitate to stop by today!