Treating Strep Throat in Close Contacts


Q: Is it safe to take an antibiotic if you have been exposed to strep throat and have the symptoms but have not had the strep test from a doctor?


A:   This is a frequently asked question.  There are many instances doctors may prescribe medications to close contacts of patients with infectious diseases. In some cases, we prescribe medications before the onset of symptoms, in other cases we only prescribe medications after the onset of symptoms.  In the case of strep throat, medications are usually only prescribed after the onset of symptoms.
The symptoms of strep throat are very similar to those of a viral pharyngitis and are treated very differently.  It is sometimes possible to determine by physical examination weather an infection is bacterial or viral and your doctor may decide to initiate treatment before waiting for test results.  Previously doctors had to wait 48 hours for test results for strep throat but some offices now have the rapid strep test which provides information in five minutes.
It is important to only take medications prescribed to you as not all medications are suitable for all person's. The proper medication for you is determined by your diagnosis, known allergies, existing medications and other medical conditions.  This can only be determined by a visit with your doctor.
I hope this helps.

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