How is strep throat treated?

Strep throat is treated with medication and measures aimed at relieving symptoms so that you are comfortable enough to get the rest you need to keep up your strength and recover without developing complications.

Treatment of strep throat includes:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil) for fever, sore throat, and body aches

  • Antibiotic medications. Generally, the most effective antibiotic medication for treating strep throat is penicillin. Antibiotics must be taken exactly as directed and finished completely to cure strep throat, even if your symptoms are gone.

  • Chicken soup, which can be easier on your throat to swallow than solid foods and provides easy-to-digest nutrients and extra fluids to help keep up your strength

  • Drinking extra fluids

  • Gargling with warm, salted water to ease sore throat

  • Getting extra rest and sleep

  • Over-the-counter sore throat drops

If you have a sore throat that has not been medically evaluated and diagnosed, you should not use aspirin or products that contain aspirin because of the risk of developing a rare but life-threatening condition called Reye syndrome. Reye syndrome has been linked to taking aspirin during a viral illness, such as viral pharyngitis, which can mimic a strep throat. 

What are the possible complications of strep throat?

Most people recover from strep throat at home by taking prescribed antibiotics as directed and using measures to help relieve symptoms and keep the body as strong as possible to minimize the risk of developing complications. However, in rare cases, strep throat may lead to complications that can be serious, even life-threatening in some people. Complications of strep throat include:

  • Acute glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidneys that can lead to kidney damage and kidney failure)

  • Cervical adenitis

  • Middle ear infection (otitis media)

  • Peritonsillar abscess

  • Rheumatic fever

  • Rheumatic heart disease

  • Scarlet fever

  • Sinusitis


  1. Strep Throat. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH.
  2. Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. Feigin RD, Cherry JD, Demmler-Harrison GJ, Kaplan SL (Eds), Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 6th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2009.
  4. Domino FJ (Ed.) Five Minute Clinical Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.

What is strep throat?

Strep throat is an infection of the throat caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, which cause swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the throat and tonsils.

Your thoat is the tube that connects your mouth to your esophagus and windpipe. The medical name for the throat is pharynx, which explains why a sore throat caused by a group A Streptococcus infectio... Read more about strep throatintroduction


What are the symptoms of strep throat?

Symptoms of strep throat can vary among individuals but generally include a sore throat. Not all people with strep throat will have a sore throat, especially early in the infection.

Common strep throat symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain, especially in children

    Read more about strep throatsymptoms


What causes strep throat?

Strep throat is caused by an infection of the throat and tonsils by group A Streptococcus bacteria. Despite popular belief, strep throat, colds, and other types of upper respiratory infections are not caused by being wet or cold, although in some cases these conditions may lower the body’s resistance to bacterial and other types of infections.  

Strep throat is contagi... Read more about strep throatcauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: May 7, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Ear, Nose and Throat

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