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Emergency Medical Minute


Oct 1, 2019

Contributor: Don Stader, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Only 10% of patients receiving antibiotics for strep throat actually have the diesease
  • Treatment of strep with antibiotics only slightly reduces the duration of illness. Most studies say the reduction is between 16 and 24 hours
  • Antibiotic treatment may reduce complications such as peritonsilar abscess and otitis media but antibiotics also increase the risk of diarrhea and yeast infection
  • Rheumatic fever is caused by a specific serotype of strep that is no longer prevalent in the United States, so treating strep throat likely has no effect on preventing this complication 


Anand Swaminathan, "Do Patients with Strep Throat Need to Be Treated with Antibiotics?", REBEL EM blog, January 5, 2015. Available at: 

Summarized by Will Dewispelaere, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD