What Causes Strep Throat To Reoccur? Reasons & How To Prevent It!

Strep can reoccur due to various reasons like having a dormant bacterium, ineffective antibiotics, laziness to finish the entire prescription, toothbrush hazard, and not taking proper care of your surroundings. Being a very infectious and airborne disease is a common cause of the reoccurrence. Following your doctor’s prescription to the end and taking a bit more care can help you break away from this reoccurring cycle of getting strep throat.

Just when you thought your throat was becoming normal again, and you got rid of that bad inflammation that was a symptom of strep throat, you start feeling it’s making its way back again.

Symptoms of strep throat vary from person to person. You might be feeling other symptoms than inflammation, but why is it reoccurring?

Is it maybe you’re doing something wrong? Or did you catch it again from someone around you?

As we know, strep is highly contagious, spreading from one person to another. And can quickly spread in the form of air droplets from people around you, basically airborne. So let’s try to understand what is causing this reoccurrence?

What is strep?

To understand why strep is reoccurring, we first should understand what it means to have strep throat. It is caused by a group A Streptococcus bacterium.

It’s a common condition that can happen to both children and adults. But it is prevalent amongst children between the ages of 5 and 15.

For children, it is infectious in places like daycare or schools, where it passes on from one child to another. Once a person gets infected with strep, it mainly attacks the throat and tonsils, making them inflamed.

So, when a person with strep sneezes or coughs, tiny droplets in the air released can easily be inhaled by another person, making it a highly contagious disease.

Symptoms of strep

A young woman is clutching her back and her head, both are hurting and showing signs that she might have strep.

Once you get strep, there are evident and primary indications to let you know when you have this disease. The most common being inflamed throat and constant pain. Some even describe it as sandpaper being rubbed inside their throat.

Most of these symptoms are pretty familiar with the typical viral too. So, initially, it might become difficult to assess if what you have is common cold or strep. But, after 2-3 days, you can quickly tell from some specific symptoms, which will then start to show.

Reasons for reoccurring strep throat

A young woman is laying down on the sofa after taking some medication for her recurring strep throat.

For some people, it is easier to get cured of strep throat, and it goes away for good. But some people have reoccurring strep throat, where it’s almost like a cycle that becomes seemingly impossible to break out of. Why is it for some people so easy, and for others, it is a reoccurring cycle of infection?

Dormant bacteria

In some patients, when they think after getting treated their throat is fine, it is found that this strep bacterium lays dormant in their system. Unfortunately, this leaves them at risk of getting this infection again and again.

Some people are predisposed to group A bacteria and have a poor germinal center response on the tonsils. These people have weak antibodies to fight the infection and never let the bacteria in easily.

So, if someone has recurring strep throat that is more or less 7 times in a year, they’re recommended surgery to remove their tonsils, but in extreme cases.

Ineffective antibiotics

Some types of streptococcus bacteria are actually resistant to some types of antibiotics.

When you get strep throat and follow a prescription from your doctor to get it treated right, they usually prescribe some antibiotics with other effective medicines. There might be a chance a particular antibiotic might not work well for you.

Laziness to finish prescription

It happens to many people that they cannot finish or follow through with the entire prescription prescribed by their doctor.

Some people don’t like taking medicines, and some are just too lazy or undisciplined to follow through the whole course. Some even feel there is no need to take it for the prescribed days when they start getting better in 2-3 days.

Dormant carriers

Being such an infectious disease, people do not even know they might have strep because they might not even know they have it or are carrying this infection with them. Since it’s airborne, it’s pretty easy to pass it on from one person to another.

Toothbrush hazard

Your toothbrush that you use every day, probably twice a day, can be the main carrier of this infection, and you might not even realize it.

The issue is that if you’ve used your toothbrush while you had strep, and later on, you keep using it when you’ve become better is a big hazard. You can easily catch it again. So, it’s better to throw your brush and use a new one when your throat has become better.

Preventing reoccurring strep throat

A young woman is preventing her past recurring strep throat issue, by being extra careful in public, to not get infected again.
  • You have to realize how infectious strep throat is. Learning this factor and then visiting your doctor to get proper treatment is the best course of action to get rid of this infection.
  • Whatever prescription your doctor has assigned, you should be carefully and adequately be adhered to with complete dedication on your part. Any half efforts will only lead it to reoccur again and again.
  • Suppose the antibiotics don’t seem to be working that well and you don’t see an improvement in your throat after finishing the prescribed treatment. In that case, you should specifically let your doctor know if an antibiotic is not working for you to prescribe one that works.
  • Of course, throw out your brush. Wash your hands frequently. Wear a mask to prevent from infecting others. Be careful of things you use in the kitchen.
  • Some home remedies like drinking warm liquids, using a cool-mist humidifier, gargling with warm salt water, or maybe honey and apple cider vinegar are some of the tricks to help you get better.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it common to get strep throat back to back?

Yes, people can get reoccurring strep throat based on various reasons. But, mainly, because people don’t follow through with the entire prescription and get lazy to take better care of themselves, it is quite easy for this infection to reoccur repeatedly.

What if strep throat comes back after antibiotics?

There are two ways to find out why an antibiotic is not working on your strep throat. One might be that you are still close to someone who has reoccurring strep throat or a dormant strep infection.

The other reason could be that a particular antibiotic might not be working for you, for which you need to ask your doctor for another antibiotic.

Can I recover from strep throat without antibiotics?

You might get lucky with a strong immune system and get better without antibiotics within a week or so. But the chances are likely that you will still carry the bacteria that causes strep throat somewhere inside you, which can then easily reoccur or get other infected. Or even put yourself through the higher risk of getting something even more dangerous.

How contagious is strep throat, and for how long?

Strep throat is contagious if you don’t take any prescriptions, including antibiotics, for 2-3 weeks.

It can reoccur and even get to others. But if you take a proper course and finish the whole treatment, chances are pretty less to get it again.

Can I have strep throat without fever?

Yes, you can have strep throat without fever too. However, fever is one of the symptoms of getting strep, and it isn’t necessary to get it.

What you don’t get during strep is coughing. So if you don’t have a cough but have a sore throat, then you might have strep.

To summarize

Mostly it depends on how well you take care of yourself and make an effort to get better. If you follow your doctor’s advice and take care of little things like washing hands frequently, keeping your utensils away from others, wearing a mask in public, and throwing away that toothbrush you used while with strep throat can help you out a lot.

In rare cases when your throat cannot get rid of issues with your tonsils, even when you’ve tried everything, the doctor might suggest removing your tonsils. But it truly depends on person to person and that too in extreme cases.

So, worry not and try your best, because you know you can get rid of it by following some simple rules.