Asked by Yvonne, Stone Mountain, Georgia
I recently got diagnosed with strep throat and am taking antibiotics. Will the rest of the family get it also? I had a sore throat but no fever. My husband and kids aren't complaining of any problems.
Living Well Expert
Dr. Jennifer Shu
Children's Medical Group
Thanks for your question. Strep throat (an infection of the throat caused by group A streptococcus bacteria, also called Streptococcus pyogenes) is most contagious starting a few days before symptoms show up and decreases after a person has been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours. The germs are transferred through close contact with the sick person's mouth or droplets from a cough or a sneeze.
There is about a 25 percent chance of spreading strep to household contacts. Your family members can try to avoid getting your infection by cleaning their hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as well as keeping their hands away from their eyes, nose and mouth.
Strep bacteria cause about 10 percent of sore throat infections, with the remainder being caused mostly by viruses. There are more than 100 types of strep, although they don't all cause throat infections. The illness usually begins within two to five days after exposure to the bacteria, so if yours was diagnosed more than about five days ago and no one else in your family is sick, they are unlikely to catch it from you now.
If it has been fewer than five days, people in your home should be on the lookout for fever, sore throat, redness or pus in the back of the mouth, swollen glands in the neck and possibly headaches, stomach aches or a rough rash. Cold symptoms such as a runny nose or cough don't usually accompany strep throat unless it's in a young child or the person also has a cold virus. Your doctor will probably advise that any family members with symptoms also get tested so that they can get antibiotic treatment if needed but avoid it if not.
Good luck, and I hope you feel better soon!
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.