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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Other infections

Question: post-acute phase of Strep throat if not treated?

 marie2009 - Tue Dec 30, 2008 11:48 pm

Our 25-year-old healthy son made an international flight from South Korea to Seattle on 12/11/08. On arriving, he developed severe sore throat, fever, chills, malaise, and slept on a friend's couch for a few days and suffered through it (no treatment). He then flew on down to our home (parents) in Idaho on 12/14 and was complaining of continuing sore throat, but claiming to be okay. He still slept quite a bit for a few days, which we attributed to jet lag and/or the illness. He has not had cough or other symptoms, but spits out some mucus now and then and says he has a somewhat sore throat or dry throat, but claims to be fine. (He's not a complainer).

However, he and my husband and I made a trip to another state for Christmas, and one day after arrival, I became extremely, acutely ill with a severe sore throat, high fever, chills, coughing up large volumes of bloody mucus. My throat was beefy red and I could barely take in liquids - no solids and could not even get out of bed to participate in any activities. Also, my neck swelled with large glands all around the sides and front - just one big hard massive lymph gland conglomeration, it felt like. On the 3rd day of this, my family took me to a minor emergency clinic. We are self-pay and that is why a throat culture probably wasn't done, and there were a lot of patients and they were running them through as quickly as possible. A PA came in and checked me. He said "your glands are monstrous", which they were. I asked about strep, and he said he didn't see any white pus pockets, but that it was likely bacterial and he put me on Ery-Tabs. He said they were slightly expired, but had been stored properly and he felt were probably still effective. I have now been on the Ery-Tabs for 4 days. I am improved systemically. Fevers and chills gone, I'm up and about the house. The throat congestion has decreased, the lymph glands reducing significantly, although yesterday they were two large white patches on the back of the throat (first time I had actually looked except for on the first day) - only patch one today. They almost resemble more of an aphthous ulcer than pus pocket, but am not sure. My husband thought they looked more yellow than white. The pain is still quite significant and at one point did remind of me of an apthous ulcer with a kind of stinging and radiation to the ear. I have had to take some leftover Vicodin to alleviate the throat pain, and I think whether there is also a viral component, that this probably was indeed Strep and is slowly improving. I said all that to lead up to my main question here.

I am not sure if my son had a Strep infection also, but I had no other sick contacts except him and came down with this. Our symptoms were very much alike, except I'm 53 and he's 25 and he pretty much recovered - or at least to his satisfaction. Can the strep do damage to him if he had it and did not treat it? He will be flying back to Korea on 1/8 (and 'lost to followup' by mom, LOL) and I am not sure whether to strongly urge him to be looked at. If everyone had insurance and plenty of money, it wouldn't be so much an issue, but he also thinks he's fine and is invincible, so doesn't worry about anything. I would like your advice on whether you think it is likely these illnesses were the same and whether he can go on and not worry about it or does strep even behave like this and are there consequences if not treated?

Thank you. I am a medical transcriptionist/service owner for 20+ years, so if I sound medical, that's why. Sorry for the length.
 marie2009 - Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:34 pm

Son now has more severe sore throat and looks like he has some white patches on right tonsil, although couldn't get a long good look. No fever or other acute symptoms yet.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:32 am

User avatar Hello,
Of course this could have been the same infection but since it was not cultured there is no way to know for sure. Untreated strep does have the potential to cause other problems - even scarlet fever which can do damage to the heart. This is not common and definitely does not occur in every case of untreated strep infection. Sometimes the body does heal itself even of bacterial infections without antibiotics though this would not be encouraged. However, it sounds like your son has recovered and if his symptoms get worse he should see a doctor. If he continues to gradually improve, chances are there is no long-term damage.

Best wishes.
 marie2009 - Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:49 am

Thank you very much for your response!

 Debbie Miller, RN - Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:36 am

User avatar Hi Donna,
I suspect that since fever has not been part of this, the throat pain could be caused by some sinus drainage or virus. However, not everyone reacts to infections in the same way so if it does not improve, he should see a doctor. Thanks for the update.

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