Can You Have Strep Throat Without a Fever?

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Strep throat is an infection of the throat and tonsils. It is caused by a form of bacteria called group A Streptococcus. Strep throat can cause various symptoms like a sore throat and pain. Although a fever is a common symptom of strep throat, it is possible to have strep throat without a fever.

This article will discuss the symptoms of strep throat, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention tips.

Parent takes child's temperature to check for fever with sore throat

Paul Bradbury / Getty Images

Strep Throat Symptoms

A strep throat infection can cause a variety of symptoms that can appear quickly.

Common symptoms may include:

  • Pain with swallowing
  • Sudden sore throat
  • Fever
  • Swollen tonsils (small organs in the back of the throat involved in immune system function)
  • Red tonsils
  • Tonsils that may have pus streaks or white patches
  • Small red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes at the front of the neck

While a fever is a common symptom of strep throat, not everyone will have a fever. However, a fever does raise the chances of having strep throat.

Strep throat may also be accompanied by other symptoms, including:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Vomiting (especially among children)

In some cases, strep throat may also cause a rash. This is known as scarlet fever.


If strep throat is suspected, a healthcare provider will likely perform a rapid strep test to formally diagnose strep throat.

A rapid strep test can detect whether group A Streptococcus is present in the throat within minutes. As well as causing strep throat, this bacteria can also cause:

  • Scarlet fever
  • Pneumonia (lung infection)
  • Abscesses (walled-off pockets of infection)

During a rapid strep test, a healthcare provider will use a tongue depressor to press down the tongue and examine the throat and mouth.

They will use a soft cotton swab to brush over the area around the tonsils and the back of the throat. This may cause a small amount of pain and may also cause slight gagging. In some cases, two swabs are taken so that if the rapid strep test comes back negative, the other swab can be sent to a lab for further testing.

Results are usually available within 15 minutes of the test being performed.


If the rapid strep test is positive (or further testing indicates the presence of Streptococcus), antibiotics will be prescribed. These drugs help prevent more serious illnesses like rheumatic fever (an inflammatory disease that develops after a Streptococcus infection and can damage the heart).

Amoxicillin and penicillin are two common antibiotics used in the treatment of strep throat. While symptoms may ease within a few days, antibiotics should be taken for a full course (often 10 days). It is important that you finish the entire course of antibiotics.

A sore throat can be eased at home. Try:

  • Using throat lozenges
  • Sucking on frozen popsicles
  • Drinking cold drinks
  • Gargling with warm salt water several times a day
  • Drinking warm drinks like tea with honey
  • Taking over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications (but note that children should not use aspirin)
  • Using a humidifier to moisten the throat

Prevention Tips

Being infected with strep throat will not offer protection from being infected again. There are ways to prevent strep throat transmission.

These include:

  • Regularly washing your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Using hand sanitizer if soap and water aren't available
  • Covering the mouth and nose using a tissue when coughing or sneezing
  • Disposing of used tissues in a trash can
  • If you don't have a tissue, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, not your hands
  • Washing utensils and plates used by someone who is sick

When to See a Healthcare Provider

If you or your child have a sore throat or any other symptoms, you should contact a healthcare provider. You should also contact a healthcare provider if symptoms don't improve within 24 to 48 hours of starting antibiotics.


Strep throat is a bacterial infection that affects the throat and tonsils. It can cause a variety of symptoms, including sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and fever.

Although fever is a common symptom of strep throat, it is possible to have strep throat and not have a fever. You are still contagious even without a fever if you have strep throat.

Strep throat can be diagnosed with a rapid strep test involving a swab of the throat. It is treated with antibiotics.

A Word From Verywell

A sore throat can be painful and distressing. If you suspect you or your child may have strep throat, it is important to contact a healthcare provider. They will be able to test you for strep throat and, if necessary, prescribe antibiotics to make you feel better.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are you still contagious if you have strep throat without a fever?

    Strep throat is highly contagious. Not everyone with strep throat will have a fever. But even without a fever, you are contagious if you have strep throat.

  • What are some common symptoms of strep throat?

    Strep throat may cause a variety of symptoms. Most common symptoms include:

    • Pain
    • Fever
    • Sore throat
    • No cough
  • How do you get tested for strep throat?

    Testing for strep throat involves a rapid strep test. This involves using a cotton swab rubbed around the back of the throat. Results are available quickly, within 15 minutes.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Strep throat: all you need to know.

  2. University of Utah. 4 tell-tale signs you have strep throat.

  3. Nemours Kids Health. Strep throat.
  4. Nemours Kids Health. Strep test: rapid.

  5. Penn Medicine. Strep throat (streptococcal pharyngitis).

  6. Health direct. Sore throat (pharyngitis).
  7. Mount Sinai. Strep throat.