2011 March 10 by Dr. Randy
(Adapted from Child Health Guide: Holistic Pediatrics for Parents, North Atlantic Books, 2005)
Most physicians will insist on treating strep throat with antibiotics. The specific organism is Group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus. The effectiveness of antibiotics for recovery from strep throat has been controversial, with early studies showing no effect on symptoms (Brink et al., 1951; Denny et al., 1953) and later studies showing dramatic improvement (Randolph et al., 1985). The second reason doctors treat strep with antibiotics is because they can prevent one of the complications of strep throat, acute rheumatic fever (ARF), which commonly damages heart valves and can prove fatal. Antibiotics do not seem to prevent some other complications, specifically toxic shock syndrome or kidney infections (Weinstein and Le Frock, 1971). However, the incidence of rheumatic fever has decreased dramatically since the time when thousands of people died every year from that extremely infectious and painful disease.