You might not have heard of strep throat infecting adults. But although strep throat is very common in children, it is also a significant cause of throat infection for adults. Because it’s a bacterial infection, it’s also contagious and requires you to maintain meticulous hygiene and avoid contact with others. But how long is strep contagious, and when can you resume your daily activities?
This post will discuss how strep throat infections work and the symptoms you can expect to experience. Next, we’ll go into how contagious it is and what you can do to treat it.
Strep Throat: What Does It Look Like?
Strep throat is medically known as streptococcal pharyngitis. It’s caused by group A streptococcus bacteria that travel by tiny respiratory droplets from one person to the next. This means that when you cough or sneeze, exhale or even talk, you can spread strep throat and give it to someone else. Naturally, this means that sharing food or utensils and being in close contact with someone can spread the infection.
Strep throat symptoms include a sore, scratchy throat and visible pus on the tonsils at the back of the throat. Because your immune system senses and tries to fight off the infection, a high-grade fever is common, usually above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. These symptoms can begin a day or two after infection and last anywhere from one to two weeks.
You may experience other symptoms, such as muscle aches or abdominal pain, headache, and nausea. However, it’s important to note that a cough, runny nose, or hoarse voice does not coincide with strep throat. This is especially true if there’s no fever present, in which case, it’s likely to be a viral infection.
This is why the best way to diagnose a strep infection is for a doctor to perform a throat culture. It aims to establish the number and kind of bacteria that are present in the throat. If streptococcal infection exists, the doctor can prescribe the appropriate course of antibiotics.
How Long Is Strep Contagious?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the U.S Department of Health and Human Services states that anyone diagnosed with strep throat should remain at home and away from other people. This indicates that the disease is particularly contagious and easily spread.
The criteria for when people can return to normal daily activities is if the person no longer has a fever and also has taken prescribed antibiotics for at least 12 hours. Both of these criteria must be met, after which the person is no longer contagious.
It’s important to remember that you must follow your antibiotic prescription exactly as the doctor has instructed. This means that you shouldn’t stop taking the medication even if you feel better unless your doctor says so.
We hope that this article has given you some insight into how long strep can be contagious. As with any contagious disease, it’s good practice to keep silverware, dishes, and glasses separated from everyone, stay home from work, consult a doctor and follow their directions. This will ensure that you recover quickly from strep throat and can resume a happy, healthy life. And of course, if you have any questions, contact a qualified physician.
Aqeeq Internal Medicine is your best primary care practice in the Houston area. We aim to give you personalized, compassionate, high-quality care, and our focus is always to put your health first. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation or diagnosis, please give us a call at (832) 786-8195.