November 29th, 2010
08:43 AM ET

What are the chances my family will get my strep throat?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Mondays, it's pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Question 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.

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!

Ask our expert docs a question

soundoff (1,757 Responses)
  1. Yes1Fan

    Gargling with 3% Peroxide / Water solution kills strep on contact. It is important to move your head from side to side while gargling, and try to gargle as deeply as possible over a sink, but this works. Strep is anaerobic – H2O2 is "extra oxygen" that kills them. Strep is far deadlier than given credit. Aside from heart trouble, It get into the brain where the autoimmune system can create permanent movement disorders such as Panda's and Essential Tremor (far more common than Parkinson's).

    November 29, 2010 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • adoctor

      Group A strep (S. pyogenes) is aerobic, not anaerobic. Don't play around with home remedies. If you think you have it, get tested, and if you are positive, get the appropriate antibiotic therapy.

      November 29, 2010 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
  2. Eliza

    Also important to change your toothbrush after 24 hr on antibiotic otherwise you will reinfect yourself after your antibiotic is finished. If you keep your toothbrush in a cup or holder with other people's toothbrushes, they should be thrown out and changed as well.

    November 29, 2010 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. jeff

    Strep throat is one of the most contageous illness around. If you have it, you family has it, and your coworkers have it. Its amusing that people think they can kill it by gargling.

    November 29, 2010 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • shawn

      then why did my strep go away after three days of gargling apple cider vinegar?

      December 24, 2015 at 19:29 | Report abuse |
    • doctor

      because you didnt have strep

      September 30, 2016 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
  4. Fuyuko

    Strep is really bad. I came down with strep and the doctor wouldn't give me antibiotics. He gave me cough syrup with codeine That night I was hospitalized, I was having trouble swallowing and my family was very worried. They gave me antibiotics and it really helped. I wish he'd given me the drugs I needed and saved me the trip to the hospital. Strep is serious.

    November 29, 2010 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • shana cooper

      I can't believe they didn't give you antibiotics! I hope you never went back to that doctor again. My daughter has had it twice, now my son has it. Each them they are incredibly sick then after the first dose of antibiotics they perk up and it get better from there.

      Security Cameras Atlanta- http://www.cfasecurity.com

      August 2, 2016 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
  5. sunny

    strep can be potentially fatal if untreated. It can damage your kidneys. It should always be treated with an antibiotic and change out all the toothbrushes in your family household.
    In addition if you would like to see what happens to a person who has strep and also has psoriasis – google "guttate psoriasis" and look at the pictures of people who suffer from this. Strep is highly contagious and I think the % rate is higher than 25% for household contact. The symptoms can vary from person to person and may include pale skin, with "strawberry" colored lips, fever sometimes, swollen glands, white patches of pus on tonsils etc...

    November 29, 2010 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. X

    Strep throat is usually self-limiting and complications like Scarlet Fever are rare. The normal, healthy adult or child does NOT need to use antibiotics to rid themselves of an infection. It will clear on its own. However, rare complications can and do occur occasionally. If antibiotics are obtained, make sure you take them exactly as prescribed because the only thing worse than Scarlet Fever is a case of antibiotic-resistent Strep that you kindly spread to your family, co-workers and community. Either take no antibiotics or take them correctly.

    November 29, 2010 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Operation Plumbbob

      I've had strep several times over my lifetime and it has never gone away on its own, no matter how long I've waited. Each person's immune system is different. What works for someone who has a great immune system doesn't necessarily work for someone who's got a low-end-of-average one.

      May 9, 2013 at 15:56 | Report abuse |
  7. Dr Kadiyali M Srivatsa

    I have been writing about antibiotics and MRSA for more than thirty years, and am still finding it hard to answer some questions but you seem to be very confidently publishing information that are not correct. It looks as if you have access and quote figures and percentages that most of us are not aware. We know some infections rarely and others rapidly spread in the community. So we must not predict the percentage of spreading of these bacterial infections..

    November 30, 2010 at 04:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Dewayne Kasun

    Scarlet fever is an age-old childhood scourge that has been rare in the United States since 1970. Caused by group A strep infection, the illness causes fever, sore throat, white spots on the tonsils, swollen lymph nodes, a bright-red "strawberry" tongue, and a tell-tale red rash that starts on the abdomen and spreads throughout the body within two days. Scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics, but the new Hong Kong strain appears to be resistant to at least two commonly used drugs.:

    Have a look at the most interesting post on our new blog

    March 31, 2013 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LK

      Rare but not gone. My kid just went to a Chuck E. Cheese in April in IL and wound up with scarlet fever. He's only 4.

      April 23, 2013 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • Rob DeKorne

      Hi Dewayne, I know this is an old post, but I just had to comment. I have 3 children that do not test positive for strep, which has caused them all to have scarlet fever, (caused by untreated strep) and two of them have had scarlet fever twice. I have also seen this rash on multiple children. So no, scarlet fever is not that rare as you have stated.

      August 12, 2014 at 10:47 | Report abuse |
  9. Bernard Sundin

    Doctors treat strep throat with antibiotics. Antibiotics shorten the time you are able to spread the disease to others (are contagious) and lower the risk of spreading the infection to other parts of your body. Antibiotics also may help you feel better faster.-;"

    Most up-to-date write-up on our own blog <http://www.wellnessdigest.co

    July 5, 2013 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. sara

    Scarlet fever not gone. My son got it as a complication from strep

    June 14, 2014 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Lilly

    My neighbors recently had strep throat my mom was talking to the neighbor when she started coughing they were outside I'm scared she's going to get sick.

    February 21, 2015 at 15:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Lynn

    My granddaughter has scarlet fever her doctor told her mum she can't go near my husband cause he is getting over 2 heart attacks why?

    June 10, 2015 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. DRQ

    There are hundreds of "roots" (strains) of strep. An antibiotic confers immunity to the specific "root" that caused the illness calling for treatment – BUT not to all strep strains. Shawn: your strep may not have been cured. Strep is known to "hide" inside the body after an acute episode, and cause severe illnesses later in life. Typical examples are: kidney disease, heart disease, and rheumatism – that is: illness of the kidneys, heart, or bones and joints. I understand the risks and cost-benefit assessments of giving antibiotics, but so many people on the list of kidney transplant and so many deformed beautiful hands are due to untreated strep infections. I miss my motor: she had a bad strep before the discovery of antibiotics, and later developed a heart disease that killed her at 55, following several heart attacks since she was 30yo. True, in adults the risks of chronic disease after step infections are minimal, but they are very high in children. It saddens me to see doctors sending kids home w/o antibiotics, despite a fever and the typical signs of strep infections.

    September 13, 2016 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. fifa 17 coins

    Maintain the remarkable job !! Lovin' it!
    fifa 17 coins http://mildredagatha.beepworld.de/-fifa-17-coins-fifa-17-coins-review-2016-10-19.htm

    October 27, 2016 at 04:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. John Kerry

    Most of the time, however, our immune system is able to fight off the strep throat infection, but the immune system in children is often weaker, which is why strep throat is most common among children between 5-years-old and 15-years-old. However, even an adult’s immune system may be weakened due to another infection or stress, and this can lead to their contracting strep throat.
    Reference : https://www.findatopdoc.com/Healthy-Living/Is-Strep-Throat-Contagious

    December 19, 2016 at 04:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. L.M

    I just had strep throat and went to the doctor after the third day. I took the strip test, which was positive, so the dr prescribed antibiotics. I didn't take them and was feeling better that afternoon. By the next day, I was fine. If I would have taken the antibiotics, I would have credited them for my feeling better. You body needs to heal itself or it will always rely on a crutch (antibiotics). Tip: Apple cider vinegar!!

    May 25, 2017 at 09:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Margareta

    I was very pleased to find this internet site. I wanted to thanks for your time for this superb read!! I unquestionably enjoying just about every small bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you weblog post.


    December 3, 2017 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Actually Has Common Sense

    Please do not listen to these fake internet doctors with only a G.E.D as their credentials. There is a reason we have doctors and specialist...because we are not them ourselves. Antibiotics cost me $12.17 today so its not a pharma scam to push them on you. Stop trying prohibition era methods your grandmothers used, and listen to your doctor. If you didn't care, then why even come here just to misinform people. Give a fool a smart phone and he thins he is Bill Gates..... Sad to see the I.Q spectrum on these forums.

    August 5, 2018 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. エルメスバッグコピー品

    主にモンクレールダウン、モンクレール ダウンジャケット、

    September 26, 2018 at 03:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. gin chia

    What's up,I read your blog named "What are the chances my family will get my strep throat? – The Chart – CNN.com Blogs regularly.Your writing style is awesome, keep doing what you're doing! And you can look our website about Clean 9
    gin chia https://foreverpro.info/product/forever-gin-chia/

    November 12, 2018 at 05:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. adidas response 3 damskie

    buty adidas hikira damskienike air max 95 grey turquoise 749766 027 02 herensolebox adidas yung 1 collaboration damesadidas adilette cloudfoam plus graphic slipper schuh
    adidas response 3 damskie http://www.alltheorems.com/presto/adidas-response-3-damskie

    March 20, 2019 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. nike stefan janoski noir et blanche

    adidas damen fitness schuhe g眉nstig galaxy 3 w sneaker mint nm73179adidas d lillard 2 year of the monkey blackredbluenike sock dart red 686058 660nike strumpf fussballschuhe
    nike stefan janoski noir et blanche http://www.creativebackyardideas.com/popular/nike-stefan-janoski-noir-et-blanche

    April 7, 2019 at 22:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. pantaloni nike sb

    converse chuck taylor all star high woolrich hommenike air footscape desert chukka cargo khaki hyper jade hyper pink umber uomonike air max 90 ultra 2 0 flyknit metallic gold hommenike air jordan 1 retro high elephant print herr
    pantaloni nike sb http://www.balancewithinwellness.com/se/pantaloni-nike-sb

    April 14, 2019 at 23:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. nike womens t lite viii leather schuhe damen

    zapatillas nike free trnike air max audacity schuhereebok ventureflex critter feet toddler schuhenew balance 247 heren schoenen mrl247bg
    nike womens t lite viii leather schuhe damen http://www.janakpurkhabar.com/blog/nike-womens-t-lite-viii-leather-schuhe-damen

    May 13, 2019 at 23:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. WWW.XMC.PL

    I was browsing via the web for some information since yesterday night and I at last found what i was looking for! This is a fantastic web page by the way, except it looks a slight difficult to see in my smart phone.


    November 23, 2020 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. KbrgMile

    woman viagra where to get sildenafil buy female viagra usa

    November 25, 2020 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. FdbvZisse

    how much is the generic viagra sildenafil canada prescription order generic viagra

    November 25, 2020 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. JsweCrulk

    buy viagra pills canada sildenafil brand name in india female viagra pill prescription

    November 26, 2020 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. erection pills online viagra

    what erectile dysfunction drug works best
    solutions erectile dysfunction
    erectile disease quiz

    November 28, 2020 at 04:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. FmsgEncox

    me using viagra order free viagra viagra kein erfolg

    November 28, 2020 at 04:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. FsfEncox

    website writes essays for you help on writing essays essays on the help

    November 28, 2020 at 09:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. FtghEncox

    help me do my homework ideas to write an essay research paper thesis

    November 28, 2020 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. DvscZisse

    essay editing being a college student essay help with corporate finance homework

    November 28, 2020 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. XMC Polska

    Paul Getty Zwykle Twierdzil, ze Bezinteresowna przyjazń moze istniec tylko pomiedzy osobami o jednakowych dochodach. I ja sie po niekad z tym zgadzam 🙂 A ty ? http://www.xmc.pl


    November 29, 2020 at 04:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. FnrdEncox

    viagra subscription australia viagra preço viagra/cialis

    November 30, 2020 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Napoleon Urbas

    Very good post.Thanks Again. Really Cool.head lice symptoms


    November 30, 2020 at 02:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. FgsZisse

    can someone do my homework my childhood essay writing do your math homework for you

    November 30, 2020 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. JgscCrulk

    essay writing about my best friend letter writing school essay writing

    December 1, 2020 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. FnrhEncox

    viagra no presciption viagra reviews forum viagra genric

    December 1, 2020 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. FnsbEncox

    essays new yorker computer science homework help paid thesis statement creator for research paper

    December 2, 2020 at 02:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. FqfEncox

    essays about teachers pay to do homework english essay writing practice

    December 2, 2020 at 07:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Smithwub

    seek out some take out with online dating sites

    Dating is sit-ups for locating your company's take out and to attract soul mates. your ultimate seeing each other appeals to as well passions are perhaps another bat in obtaining peoples need to know in you. they want fully feel everyone article topics so impart them with some thing will kindle something inside of their ideas.

    Dating the correct to get shown opposite gender to be told each other regarding you both are comfortable in unison then you can definitely get into several regard with similar guy. amounts of online dating sites offered where you can find your entire go out with.

    Free paid dating sites are ideal for beginners of the uniform dating game. everyone like to communicate brand-new individuals on the net, But the only thing offering them back is they are not aware of chinese girls kissing what online dating site to consult with.

    you can also find regarding free dating sites. about which will the net pages packages online dating services? usually, yet unfortunately do you know there are also domains that cost-free online dating services? understand, you'll free online dating sites that you simply will can visit that provides you a lot of same offerings you can can get because of fee based.

    Free adult dating rrnternet site is as well appropriate those who are wary and do not, nor really need to get through something they are unfamiliar with. Free online dating sites are on multilple web sites. Free dating sites in addition offer free report web hosting to their visitors, And you can start building personal link soon after recruiting.

    Free internet dating for anybody! and this free uniform dating depends upon. world wide, in all likelihood, Is the most common adult dating average, that provides both fee based and even free dating services. apply for anyone in take your pick, But if you can enjoy the best online online dating services totally free of charge that time this is why pay in their mind. very give "free" To your quandary and revel in online dating site free. Free courting affords additional bonuses.

    Free online dating services offer immediate access to chat rooms additionally argument rooms with virtually no charge which enables you to have dominated the like, disfavors, passions but also soothe of your partner prior to going on court. most individuals and no end of adventures being debated bedrooms having a perfect going on a date familiarity.

    December 3, 2020 at 08:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. DvncZisse

    cialis israel best place to buy generic cialis cialis 200 mg what is it

    December 8, 2020 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. FsfgEncox

    buy generic viagra no prescription with visa debit cipla viagra canada viagra preço

    December 9, 2020 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. FgrsEncox

    viagra no prescription overnight delivery viagra and carvedilol where can i buy viagra on line

    December 9, 2020 at 16:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. FgnsZisse

    cost of cialis 20mg cialis 20 mg tablets and prices generic cialis (tadalafil) 20mg 30

    December 10, 2020 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. FbsbEncox

    cialis online purchase 10 mg cialis cialis

    December 11, 2020 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. KhedMile

    \\cheap viagra online pfizer viagra au buy viagra online with overnight shipping

    December 11, 2020 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. detectives privados pinto

    detectives privados dos hermanas


    December 11, 2020 at 23:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. FqbfEncox

    cialis pills for sale buy cialis with prescription australia cialis super active for cheap

    December 12, 2020 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.