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Treating Viral Strep

Because strep throat is caused by specific bacteria (group A streptococcus), there is no such thing as viral strep throat. Treating strep throat involves antibiotics, which will not help treat a viral infection.
Although strep throat can affect anyone, it most frequently occurs in children between the ages of 5 and 15. It is typically diagnosed during the late fall, winter, and early spring. Symptoms can include fever, white patches of pus on the back of the throat, and a red and painful throat that begins suddenly.
When treating strep throat in adults, the antibiotic of choice is typically penicillin; children are usually prescribed amoxicillin. After 24 hours of starting antibiotics, a person's temperature should drop, and they are not considered contagious. After two or three days, other symptoms of strep throat should start to improve.
(Click Strep Throat for more details on this throat infection, including information on why it is a bacterial infection and not viral in nature. Details on treating strep symptoms and who is at an increased risk of this infection are also included.)
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