Strep throat is a generally preventable, treatable infection, but it can cause some serious complications if it isn’t treated correctly or quickly.

With the winter months being prime strep throat season, it’s especially important to keep this from happening and to be aware of the common strep throat symptoms.

Our AFC Urgent Care NC team highlights what you need to know about strep throat below, so keep reading!

What Is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection of the tonsils. It’s caused by a bacteria called group A Streptococcus, and you can get it by being exposed to someone with strep, usually from inhaling airborne droplets or touching something that’s been in someone’s mouth.

We’ve listed the most common strep throat symptoms below.

Common Strep Throat Symptoms

  • A sudden fever, especially if it’s 101˚F or higher
  • A sore, red throat with white patches
  • A headache
  • Chills
  • A loss of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Trouble swallowing

How Serious Is Strep Throat?

Strep throat isn’t generally a large cause for concern, but if it’s left untreated, it can potentially cause life-altering side effects and complications. If you experience strep throat symptoms, it’s important to visit one of our AFC centers within the first 48 hours to get a jump on treating the infection.

If you test positive for strep throat and don’t get antibiotics to knock out the bacteria, you could face one or multiple of the problems that we’ve listed below.

Potential Complications Caused By Untreated Strep Throat

  • Abscesses (infected pockets) in your throat
  • Infected lymph nodes in the neck
  • Middle ear infection, or otitis media
  • Sinus infection
  • Rheumatic fever, which can cause damage to the heart, joints, nervous system and skin. This is rare, and it occurs mainly in children ages 5 to 15.
  • Scarlet fever—a bright red, sandpaper-like rash that starts on the face and neck and spreads through the body; it can be caused by strep throat or strep skin infections.
  • Toxic shock syndrome—a rare but potentially life-threatening condition caused by strep bacteria releasing toxins into the body

Our AFC NC centers offer rapid, molecular strep tests that provide accurate results in 15 minutes or less! You don’t need an appointment to get one, so don’t hesitate to stop by today.