Strep Throat | Treatment


How is strep throat treated?

Strep throat is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria, which helps ease the symptoms of strep throat and helps it go away a little faster. It can also prevent a few rare but serious conditions that people who have strep throat might develop, such as rheumatic fever or kidney inflammation.

It is important to take all of the antibiotics your doctor prescribes. This reduces the risk that your symptoms will return and also helps prevent antibiotic resistance.

Should all sore throats be treated with antibiotics?

No. Not every sore throat is strep throat. Bacteria only cause a small portion of all sore throats. The rest are caused by viruses or other problems that antibiotics do not help. Your doctor can do a test to check for strep throat.

What can make my sore throat feel better?

Here are some things that might help you feel better:

  • Take ibuprofen (some brand names: Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (one brand name: Tylenol) to relieve pain and reduce fever. Children should not take aspirin. Aspirin can cause a serious illness called Reye's syndrome when it is given to children younger than 18 years of age.
  • Gargle with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup [8 ounces] of warm water).
  • Adults and older children can suck on throat lozenges, hard candy, pieces of ice or popsicles.
  • Eat soft foods (such as yogurt and applesauce) and drink cool drinks or warm liquids (such as broths, soups and tea).
  • Get plenty of rest. Sleep helps your body fight infection.
  • Drink plenty of water. This helps keep your throat lubricated and helps prevent dehydration.
  • Avoid acidic or spicy foods and drinks (such as orange juice and peppers).


Management of Group A Beta-Hemolytic Streptococcal Pharyngitis by CS Hayes, MD, MHA; H Williamson, Jr, MD, MSPH (American Family Physician April 15, 2001,

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 05/14
Created: 09/00