MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Does your body successfully fight strep infections without antibiotics?

Date: Mon Apr 2 20:47:56 2001
Posted By: Sarah Martin Mason, Medical student, Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 975503121.Me

Dear Natalia,
     Antibiotics are not needed to recover from an uncomplicated strep 
infection of the throat.  They are needed, however, to prevent very serious 
complications that can follow strep infections.  The most important of 
these is rheumatic heart disease, which can damage the heart, and 
especially its valves, permanently.  Strep can also cause a complication in 
the kidneys called post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, which can cause 
kidney failure.  Both of these very serious complications are very easy to 
prevent, but very difficult to treat.  Antibiotics will not shorten the 
course of a strep infection, but can prevent very serious complications, so 
everyone who is prescribed antibiotics for strep should always finish their 
course of medicine.
     Thank you for your question.
Sarah Martin Mason, Mad Scientist

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