How is strep throat treated?

Strep throat is treated using antibiotics. An antibiotic is a type of medicine that kills the bacteria that cause the infection.

Antibiotics are often taken as pills or given as a shot. Penicillin and amoxicillin are common antibiotics used to treat strep throat. Other antibiotics are ordered for people who are allergic to penicillin.

Your healthcare provider may give your child a shot or prescribe an antibiotic in either pill or liquid form. The pills or liquid are usually taken for 10 days. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. Your child should take all of the medication, even if he or she feels better. The bacteria can still be alive even if your child feels okay.

What can be done to relieve the pain of strep throat?

Your child should:

  • Drink soothing liquids, such as warm tea.
  • Take a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®).

Aspirin should not be given to children. Aspirin can cause Reye's syndrome, a life-threatening illness, in children and adolescents who have fevers.

Other sore throats don't need special medicine, so why does strep throat?

Most sore throats are caused by viruses, which cannot be cured with medicine; you can only relieve the aches and pains. Viruses heal on their own and cannot be cured with antibiotics or other medicines.

Strep throat is caused by a bacterium. Infections caused by bacteria can be treated with antibiotics. Strep throat can lead to more serious illnesses, so it's important to get it treated.

Can I take antibiotics I already have in the house for strep throat?

You should never take medicines left over from an earlier illness or give a leftover medicine to your children. Leftover antibiotics can also make strep throat more difficult to treat and can cause serious side effects.

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