6 Potential Complications of Untreated Strep Throat

Each year, millions of people develop a strep throat infection in the United States. About 13,000 people will experience a severe infection that can lead to serious complications, including premature death.

At Primary Care Walk-In Clinic, our medical specialists offer diagnostic strep tests to accurately identify an infection. Our physicians customize a care plan to relieve a sore throat and lower your risk for more serious strep throat complications.

How to recognize strep throat

Strep throat is a highly contagious bacterial infection triggered by group A streptococcus bacteria. The infection causes inflammation and pain in the throat. Unlike viral infections, strep throat doesn’t produce upper respiratory issues like cough and runny nose.

Other symptoms of strep throat include:

Strep infections spread from person to person through droplets in the air produced when you cough, sneeze, or speak. You can also become infected by touching objects contaminated by bacteria and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Treating a strep throat infection typically involves a course of antibiotics. However, if you delay treatment, strep throat can become a more serious infection that jeopardizes your overall health.

6 complications of untreated strep throat

The pain of strep throat causes most people to seek medical care so they can find symptom relief. If you put off a diagnosis or try to treat strep throat on your own, you may be at increased risk for complications like:

1. Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a lung infection that develops when the airspace in your lungs (alveoli) become inflamed because of bacterial or viral infections.

2. Meningitis

Meningitis describes inflammation and infection in the membranes and fluids around your spinal cord and brain.

3. Ear infection

Ear infections can develop if strep bacteria travels into the ear’s eustachian tubes or the middle ear.

4. Throat abscess

You might also develop an abscess, an area of tissue in the throat that fills with infected pus.

5. Toxic shock syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but serious side effect of strep throat that develops when the infection spreads throughout your body, which can lead to organ failure.

6. Heart failure

If you have recurrent strep throat infections, you might be at increased risk for rheumatic fever, inflammation, and scarring in the structures of your heart that ultimately leads to heart failure.

Don’t put off strep throat testing

At Primary Care Walk-In Clinic, we offer rapid strep tests to quickly identify an active infection. Testing involves a minimally invasive swab of your throat to collect cell samples.

We evaluate the samples to determine if group A strep bacteria is present. If your test is negative, our physicians may perform additional tests to identify the cause of your throat pain and other symptoms.

Our team prescribes antibiotics to clear the infection when your strep test is positive. We can also recommend home care strategies you can use to relieve throat pain, swollen glands, and swallowing difficulties.

Call the Primary Care Walk-In Clinic in Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, or Gilbert, Arizona, today to schedule a strep throat evaluation. You can also book an appointment or visit the nearest clinic as a walk-in.

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