Strep throat may be a common childhood illness, but it’s still a serious one.
Just two weeks without treatment can be enough for it to spread to other organs, like the kidneys or heart.
“More serious complications of untreated strep infection include acute rheumatic fever, which can affect the heart and cause kidney damage,” said Dr. Ashanti Woods, attending pediatrician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore.
But serious complications are rare, because most children are treated with antibiotics long before this can happen. It’s important to take the symptoms of strep throat seriously and seek medical attention promptly.
“Symptoms include sore throat, fever, and white pus pockets on very red tonsils in the back of the throat,” said Woods, who wasn’t associated with the study.
Woods says antibiotics are typically taken for about 10 days, depending on the person and the medication. Sometimes, antibiotics can be taken for only five days.