Should I Go to an ER for Strep Throat?

Should I Go to an ER for Strep Throat?

May 1, 2023

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the throat and tonsils. If you suspect you have strep throat, you must receive medical attention to avoid severe complications and ensure proper treatment. Although you can treat the condition with antibiotics, it is paramount to understand when to go to the emergency room (ER) and when to wait.

This bacterial infection causes symptoms such as fever, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes. If not treated promptly, strep throat can lead to grave complications, including heart problems, kidney damage, and rheumatic fever.

Once you notice the above symptoms, visit an ER near you, particularly one that offers 24-hour emergency care. Fairfield Emergency room is near you, and they offer quality emergency services. They have well-skilled professionals to ensure they handle each situation individually.

Symptoms that Necessitate a Visit to an ER following a Strep Throat infection

Usually, a primary care physician can diagnose and treat strep throat. However, there are certain instances in which you should seek emergency medical services. Some factors to consider when deciding whether to visit an ER for strep throat:

    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Once you start having trouble breathing or swallowing, it is time to seek medical attention urgently. These symptoms could indicate a more serious condition, such as epiglottitis, requiring urgent intervention.

    • Fever

If you have a fever of over 101° F, it may be a sign that the severity of your strep throat is increasing or that you may have a secondary infection. If you get to this point, it is critical to seek medical treatment to thwart complications in the future.

    • Dehydration

If your body cannot keep fluids down due to nausea or vomiting, it is important to seek medical attention to avoid further dehydration.

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    • Severe pain

It may indicate a more serious condition if you are experiencing massive pain in your throat, ears, or any other part of your body. Conditions that are associated with such symptoms include an abscess or an infection in your ear. For this reason, it is imperative to seek medical treatment.

    • Bad history

If you have a history of complications from strep throat, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly to avoid further damage. Complications arising from strep throat include rheumatic fever or kidney damage.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. On the contrary, if your symptoms are mild and you do not have any of the above risk factors, you may be able to seek care from your primary care doctor or any urgent care provider.

When you visit the ER for strep throat, the medical team will perform a physical exam and order diagnostic tests, such as a rapid strep test or a throat culture. If you are diagnosed with strep throat, the doctor will most likely prescribe rheumatic fever or kidney damage antibiotics to help clear the infection.

Once given a prescription, it’s necessary to take the full dosage as the doctor prescribes, even after your symptoms improve. Failure to complete the full course of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance and possible cases of a recurrence of the infection.

Home Remedies for Strep Throat

Besides visiting an ER or your local doctor, several home remedies assist in relieving the symptoms of strep throat. They include;

  • Drink plenty of fluids like water to stay hydrated.
  • Gargle with salt water to soothe the throat when symptoms manifest.
  • A humidifier indoors adds moisture to the air and eases throat irritation.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, relieves pain and reduces fever.

Precautionary Measures

If you have strep throat, it is essential to take preventative measures to curb the spread of the infection. These include:

  • Washing your hands regularly
  • Covering your face(nose and mouth) when coughing or sneezing
  • Avoiding sharing personal items, utensils, or drinking glasses with others
  • Staying home from work or school until you are on antibiotics medication for at least 24 hours


If you are experiencing severe symptoms or have a history of complications from strep throat, you should pay attention to the severity of the condition. It would be best if you visited an ER to get medical intervention. Nonetheless, if the symptoms are light to moderate, visit your local caregiver, and they will give you medical assistance.