Strep throat is the most common bacterial infection affecting children. While streptococcus infection generally goes away on its own and is treatable with strep throat medicines, in rare cases, several different strains of the strep throat bacteria tend to be more dangerous than others.
This condition can quickly spread to other body parts and attack skin tissues. Sometimes, they may cause permanent damage to the body if not diagnosed on time. At times, it may prove to be fatal.
Knowing about possible complications and how they spread can help seek strep throat treatment without giving it the chance to worsen.
Complications of strep throat if left untreated
- Rheumatic fever: If strep throat goes undiagnosed, the bacterial infection can impact the immune system. This condition can lead to pain in the joints and affects the nervous system. It may give rise to diseases like arthritis, damage to heart valves, and potential heart failure in some cases.
- Kidney problems: Kidney problems following strep throat infection are more common and dangerous. Strep throat complications may include permanent kidney damage.
- Toxic Shock Syndrome: Untreated strep throat can lead to toxic shock syndrome leading to organ damage such as liver, lungs, or renal dysfunction and potentially be life-threatening.
- Otitis media: Untreated strep throat can lead to infection in the middle ear-called Otitis media. It is more prominently found in infants, toddlers, and also adults. The bacteria may cause the ear tissue, including the eardrums, to become swollen. The bacteria can promote fluid build-up, making people dizzy and nauseous in some cases.
- Meningitis: Meningitis is another severe sign of strep throat infection. It can cause inflammation of the membrane surrounding the spinal and brain cords.
- Pneumonia: Untreated strep throat has also been found to cause Pneumonia. An infection of the lungs is characterized by inflammation in airspaces. This condition can turn fatal in 30%, making the recovery process difficult.
- Abscess: This severe complication is also one of the complications commonly noticed in strep throat infection. It can lead to pus-filled pockets forming near tonsils.
Some other complications may involve:
- Strep throat rash
- Infection of lymph nodes
The typical strep throat incubation period is three to five days. This means, on average, the condition may take three days to show any symptoms. And by that time, the situation may worsen. Additionally, strep throat antibiotics can improve the situation. It is best to be informed of the remedies and resources like strep throat tests at home to avoid aggravating the situation.
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