Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.
Dr. Aaron Wiegmann
Dr. Wiegmann earned his medical degree (M.D.) from Rush Medical College and completed his General Surgery residency at Rush University Medical Center and Cook County Hospital. He has a Master's Degree (M.S.) in clinical research and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles.
March 4, 2021
Penicillin and amoxicillin are the most common and effective antibiotics for strep throat. Unless your doctor has different plans for your specific case depending on its severity or other contingencies, you can expect to take one of those two antibiotics for strep.
Read on to learn more about strep throat, the symptoms, and treatment, including more information on antibiotics, and how to get antibiotics for strep throat online.
Strep throat is an infection caused by a bacterium called Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A streptococcus.
These bacteria are contagious and can be spread through droplets (aerosol spray inhaled near an infected person who coughs or sneezes), or contact transfer (touching a surface touched by an infected person and then touching a mucous membrane such as the nose, mouth, or eyes).
Young children and the elderly or immunocompromised are most susceptible to a strep throat infection.
The first sign of strep throat in both adults and children is typically a sore or scratchy throat that comes on quickly.
Other symptoms of strep throat can include the following:
The best strep throat antibiotics are penicillin and amoxicillin. These are typically prescribed as the first-line treatment, as there has never been a clinical report of strep group A resistance to penicillin.
Effective as penicillin is in strep throat treatment, some patients have an allergic response to antibiotics in the penicillin family. These patients are usually prescribed an alternative narrow-spectrum cephalosporin such as cephalexin or cefadroxil. Azithromycin and clarithromycin are generally avoided, as strep throat antibiotics due to clinical reports of strep resistance.
Yes, because strep throat is a bacterial infection, it must be treated with antibiotics. When a doctor diagnoses strep throat, antibiotic treatment is typically started immediately to decrease the severity of symptoms, contagious spread, and the development of serious complications such as acute rheumatic fever.
While strep throat generally goes away on its own, if left untreated by antibiotics, strep throat can lead to serious inflammatory complications such as:
For children, there may also be the risk of contracting pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder, or PANDAS. This can result in many physical and psychiatric symptoms such as emotional regression, tics, sensitivity to light and sound, hyperactivity, and memory problems.
Additionally, a strep carrier that does not receive antibiotic treatment will continue to be contagious and can spread the infection to others. Antibiotics are necessary to alleviate these risks.
After doctors diagnose strep throat, they will typically prescribe an oral antibiotic. Once antibiotic treatment has begun, symptoms will usually start to improve within a day or two.
After 24 hours, a patient will be clear to return to school or work if they feel well enough to do so. However, they will likely be encouraged to stay home and rest for a few days.
It is important to note that even after a patient begins to feel better, they must continue with antibiotic treatment. Most courses of antibiotics are ten days long, and each dose must be finished to ensure that the body is free from infection.
Leaving a course of antibiotics incomplete increases the risk of recurring infection, promoting antibiotic resistance, and will allow the bacteria to multiply in the body–often growing more robust than before. If these bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, they can do even greater harm.
While completing a course of antibiotics, the patient should continue implementing non-medical interventions such as getting plenty of rest, hydrating frequently, and gargling with saltwater.
Using a humidifier will also help soothe the throat and keep membranes moist.
Soothing foods should be eaten to avoid irritating the throat’s tissue (think densely nutritious foods such as broth, mashed potatoes, and soft fruits). Cold or cool foods such as yogurt, ice cream, fruit juices, or popsicles can help relieve throat pain.
Over the counter analgesics or antipyretics may also be taken to decrease discomfort.
The first step in treatment for strep throat is always consulting your doctor or nurse practitioner. With the advent of telehealth, it has become easier than ever to receive a diagnosis and treatment without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Those who are experiencing any indication of strep throat can simply make an appointment with their doctor online and describe their symptoms. The doctor will ask a few questions regarding symptom severity and duration of illness, and then can make a proper diagnosis and write a prescription at just a fraction of the cost of an in-person office visit.
Once your medical professional has decided which strep throat antibiotic is right for you, they will then send a prescription for penicillin (or, in cases of allergy, an alternative antibiotic) to your chosen pharmacy.
With our sister site PlushCare, you can speak to a doctor, acquire a prescription, then pick it up from your local pharmacy, all within an hour or two. Bacterial infections require immediate treatment to ensure that symptoms improve quickly and avoid complications.
Not only does this process with PlushCare avoid the headache of having to visit a doctor’s office while suffering from the symptoms of strep throat, but more importantly, it prevents the spread of infection to others in the community.
Click here to book an appointment with a doctor.
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