Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. If left untreated, strep throat can lead to several complications, including:
- Rheumatic fever: This is a rare but serious complication that can affect the heart, joints, and nervous system. Rheumatic fever can cause permanent damage to the heart valves, leading to heart failure.
- Kidney damage: Strep throat can cause inflammation in the kidneys, leading to a condition called glomerulonephritis. This can cause high blood pressure, swelling, and blood in the urine.
- Abscess formation: In some cases, the infection can spread to the tonsils, causing abscess formation. This can make it difficult to breathe and swallow.
- Spread of infection: Strep throat is highly contagious and can spread to others if left untreated. This can lead to the development of other infections, such as sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia.
- Continued symptoms: If left untreated, strep throat can continue to cause symptoms such as fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes for several weeks.
Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have strep throat to prevent these potential complications. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and reduce the risk of complications.