Antibiotics for strep throat

Strep throat is a common type of infection that develops both in children as well as adults. It is a type of infection that develops in the throat and tonsils caused by bacteria- group A Streptococcus. 

The bacteria can enter the body by breathing in air droplets or touching an infected surface. 

‘Up to 3 in 10 children with a sore throat have strep throat.’

~Center for Disease Control (CDC)

How Antibiotics Treat Strep Throat?

Antibiotics is a class of drugs that kills the group A Streptococcus bacteria- mainly responsible for strep throat. This type of medicine works only on bacteria. Hence, strep throat caused by viruses cannot be treated by antibiotics.

The medicine cures strep throat by-

What Antibiotics To Take For Strep Throat

Doctors generally prescribe the following antibiotics for curing strep throat. The following antibiotics are safe, cost-effective, and helpful in fighting off the infection.

Augmentin

The medicine is made with a combination of amoxicillin and clavulanate potassium. Amoxicillin is a penicillin antibiotic. For adults, usually, the prescribed dosage is one 500 mg tablet every 12 hours or one 250 mg tablet for every 8 hours. People with colitis, mononucleosis, renal dysfunction should be careful while taking this medicine. 

Amoxicillin

In this antibiotic, the main active component is penicillin that helps to fight off bacteria. Amoxicillin can cure other infections also such as pneumonia, ear infections, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and skin infections. The dosage of amoxicillin is generally taking one pill every 12 hours. However, people with liver disease, kidney problems, or mononucleosis should consult with the doctor before taking this medicine.

Cefdinir

The main ingredient for Cefdinir is cephalosporin antibiotic that not only cures strep throat but other bacterial infections also. This antibiotic is available in the form of oral suspension also. Some of the common side effects people report after taking Cefidinir are- severe stomach aches, body ache, fever, chills, pale skin, flu symptoms, vaginal discharge, etc. doctors generally prescribe to take 300 mg orally every 12 hours for 10-14 days.

Clarithromycin

This is an antibiotic that can cure various bacterial infections that occur in the skin and respiratory system. People suffering from jaundice or other liver ailments or suffering from kidney problems should report the same to the doctor. The usual dose of Clarithromycin involves 7-14 days. Some of the side effects of this antibiotic are severe stomach pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, confusion, etc.

Erythromycin 

This particular antibiotic belongs to the specific type of antibiotics known as macrolide antibiotics. These function by slowing the growth of or even kill sensitive bacteria responsible for the infection. It is better if people with past heart rhythm disorder, or with a low level of potassium or magnesium talk to the doctor first before taking this medicine. This antibiotic is available as oral pills, syrup, or injection.

Also Read: Medicines to get relief from tonsil pain

Dosage of Antibiotics for Children

Children’s immune system is not fully developed. Therefore, before giving them antibiotics parents need to be very careful.  Moreover, all over-the-counter medicines are not recommended for children of certain ages. Some prescribed dosages for children are-

  • Pain relievers

  1. Give children younger than 6 months only acetaminophen. 
  2. Give children 6 months or older acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  3. Don’t give your child aspirin as this can cause Reye’s syndrome, a serious condition.
  • Cough and cold medication 

  1. Don’t give children below 4 years of age over the counter cough and cold medicines as these can be potentially fatal.
  2. Before giving medicines for cough and cold to children over 4 years of age, consult with a pediatrician first. 

Side effects of Antibiotics for Strep Throat-

Antibiotics, in general, cause some side effects. Some of the common mild side effects that are likely to occur after taking antibiotics are-

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite 

These side-effects are more likely to stop once the whole course of the medicine finishes. However, if they are severe or persist, get medical attention immediately. 

Moreover, some people can also have an allergic reaction after taking antibiotics. Some of the allergic reactions that can occur are-

  • Wheezing
  • Difficult in breathing
  • Elevated heartbeat
  • Rash
  • Dizziness 

Alternatives to Antibiotics for Strep Throat

In addition to taking the above antibiotics, doctors also prescribe trying some remedies to get relief from symptoms of strep throat. 

  • Gargle with salt water to clear the throat and get relief from the pain.
  • Using throat sprays that contain topical anesthetics can provide relief temporarily.
  • Keep the throat moist with lozenges
  • Sip on warm beverages such as tea with honey, herbal teas, etc. regularly
  • Use apple cider vinegar in diluted form while gargling 

Prevent Strep Throat From Developing

Good hygiene is key to prevent any infection from developing. To practice good hygiene one should-

  • Wash hands often
  • When sneezing or coughing, cover the mouth and nose with a tissue
  • Use alcohol-based hand rub when soap and water are unavailable

Also Read: Medicines for Sinus infections- Types and Side Effects

References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/community/for-patients/common-illnesses/sore-throat.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html

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