Book an appointment Feather-communication-phone
best-antibiotic-for-strep-throat

Blog Antibiotics

Best Antibiotics for Strep Throat

writtenByWritten by: Dr. Umer Khan
Dr. Umer Khan

Dr. Umer Khan

Medically reviewed by Dr Umer Khan, MD who is a Board Certified physician practicing in Pennsylvania. His special interests include wellness, longevity and medical IT.

Read more posts by this author.

March 31, 2021 Read Time - 5 minutes

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that can lead to throat pain, painful swallowing, and swollen lymph nodes around the neck. While strep throat is typically treated with a combination of at-home treatment and medication, antibiotics are the best way to get rid of strep throat.

If you’re worried that you or your child may have strep throat, it’s important to know which antibiotics are going to help you start feeling better. Read on to learn which strep throat antibiotics your doctor may prescribe to effectively manage your symptoms.



  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

What Is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a type of bacterial infection that can make your throat feel painful, sore, and scratchy. Strep throat infections are caused by bacteria known as Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A Streptococcus.

The most common symptoms of strep throat include:

  • Sore, scratchy throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Headache and/or irritability
  • Fever
  • Tender, swollen lymph nodes around the neck
  • Tiny red spots toward the back of the roof of the mouth

While strep throat is more common in children, it can affect people of all ages. If you or your child experiences any of the signs of symptoms of strep throat, it’s essential to see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

How Long Is Strep Throat Contagious?

Without proper treatment with strep throat antibiotics, individuals with strep throat may be contagious for up to 1 month. 

When an individual infected with Group A Streptococcus bacteria, they typically begin to present symptoms about 2–5 days after exposure. However, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control, “some infected people do not have symptoms or seem sick.” An infected person can spread strep throat to others by coughing, sneezing, or talking, “which creates small respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria.”

Treatment with strep throat antibiotics can stop the infection from spreading. People who take antibiotics to treat strep stop being contagious after approximately 24 hours.

How Do I Know If My Strep Throat Is Viral or Bacterial?

Strep throats are bacterial infections caused by Streptococcus bacteria. However, viral infections can also cause a sore throat.

To find out whether your sore throat is a sign of viral or bacterial infection, you’ll need to pay attention to your symptoms and the length of your sore throat. 

CauseType of InfectionLength of Sore ThroatOther Symptoms
Common coldViral24–48 hours– Runny or stuffy nose
– Aches and pains
– Fatigue
Strep throat BacterialUp to 5 days– Tiny red spots toward the back of the roof of the mouth
– Painful swallowing
– Headache
TonsillitisBacterial4–10 days– Red, swollen tonsils
– Enlarged, tender lymph nodes
– Bad breath

Antibiotics are only used to treat bacterial infections. If you’re not sure whether your infection is viral or bacterial, your doctor will be able to diagnose your infection and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Does Strep Throat Need Antibiotics?

Yes, treatment with antibiotics is necessary for strep throat. Unlike ear infections, which are viral in nature, strep throat is a bacterial infection and will not go away on its own. If left untreated, strep throat can lead to serious complications, including kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever.

When taken within the first 48 hours of the illness’ onset, antibiotics can reduce the severity of duration of symptoms. You should start feeling better and showing improvement within 24–48 hours of starting treatment with antibiotics.

With that said, it’s important that you finish the prescribed course of antibiotics to avoid recurring infections or developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

What Are the Best Antibiotics for Strep Throat?

The best antibiotics for strep throat are penicillin and amoxicillin. They are the most effective and affordable, and they come with few side effects.

Some antibiotics your doctor might prescribe for strep include:

  • Penicillin – Unless you’re allergic, penicillin is the best antibiotic for sore throat infection. The most common side effects of penicillin include nausea and vomiting.
  • Amoxicillin – A broad-spectrum form of penicillin, amoxicillin, may be more effective and convenient for some patients. A single daily dose of amoxicillin may be just as effective as multiple doses of penicillin taken in a day. However, amoxicillin can more commonly cause skin rash and gastrointestinal problems.
  • Amoxicillin Clavulanate Potassium – Amoxycillin clavulanate potassium is more frequently used to treat recurring cases of strep throat. Marketed as Augmentin, amoxicillin clavulanate potassium is resistant to degradation or damage caused by waste products, such as beta-lactamase created by Streptococcus. The main side effect of amoxicillin clavulanate potassium is diarrhea.
  • Azithromycin – Azithromycin is best used for those who are allergic penicillin or have tried penicillin with no results.
  • Clarithromycin – Clarithromycin goes by the brand name Biaxin and may act as a good alternative for those with penicillin allergies.
  • Clindamycin – Clindamycin is effective for those who are allergic to penicillin or have a case of strep throat that is resistant to penicillin.
  • Cefdiner – Branded as Omnicef, research suggests that a 5-day course of cefdinir treatment is equal to a 10-day regimen with penicillin.
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get Strep Throat Treatment Online

If you or your child are experiencing throat pain, painful swallowing, and other common strep throat symptoms, we have good news: you don’t need to visit your doctor’s office for strep throat antibiotics. 

Instead, you can schedule an online appointment with one of the trusted doctors at PlushCare. If your doctor thinks strep throat antibiotics are right for you, they can send an electronic prescription to your local pharmacy.

Book an appointment with a PlushCare doctor and get an antibiotic prescription today.


Read More About Strep Throat


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Mayo Clinic. Strep Throat. Accessed on March 10, 2021 at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/strep-throat/symptoms-causes/syc-20350338

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Strep Throat: All You Need to Know. Accessed on March 10, 2021 at https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/strep-throat.html

Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Strep Throat (Bacterial). Accessed on March 10, 2021 at https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/strep-throat 

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

Our commitment to you.

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

  • right Tick Image

    Research from sources you can trust

  • right Tick Image

    Medical reviews by field experts

  • right Tick Image

    Frequent content updates

More to learn.

Antibiotics For Ulcers

Antibiotics For Ulcers

Antibiotics for Ulcers Do you battle stomach pain? You may be wondering if you have an ulcer. What are the…

Dr. Navin Ramchandani 3 minutes
Can You Get a Cefdinir Prescription Online?

Can You Get a Cefdinir Prescription Online?

Can You Get a Cefdinir Prescription Online? Do you need an antibiotic? If you have a pretty good idea of…

Jennifer Nelson 5 minutes
Sinus Infection Remedy

Sinus Infection Remedy

Sinus Infection Remedy Sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, is one of the most common illnesses in America, affecting nearly…

Jillian Stenzel 5 minutes