|MadSci Network: Medicine|
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. Sincerely, Sarah Martin Mason, Mad Scientist
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