Question about Strep Throat (and mucus in general)

Hi everyone,
I have always been taught that swallowing mucus (sp) is good for you. “It contains antibodies”. (This comes from my mother, who’s father was a doctor)
An aquaintance is tormented by strep throat, and she says that you shouldn’t swallow the mucus.
So my question(s): What’s the deal with swallowing mucus? Should it be done while dealing with Strep? Oh, and, what kind of infection is Strep? (My gut tells my bacterial)

Thanks alot!

Swallowing mucus won’t make a big deal either way.

“Strep” is Streptococcus pyogens, but pharyngitis (sore throat) can also be caused by viruses (rhinovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus, coxsackie A, herpes simplex virus, parainfluenza, influenza and aphthous stomatitis), fungi (thrush) and other bacteria (Chlamydia trachomatis, mycoplasma pneumoniae, haemophilus influenza, syphilis, neisseria gonorrheae, mycobacterium tuberculosis, borrelia bincentii, diptheria and aecanobacterium hemolyticum).

Group A B-hemolytic streptococci accounts for about 25% of sore throats, more in an epidemic. Your doctor diagnoses strep based on the number of symptoms, including: 1) fever, 2) red throat with pus or exudate, 3) age, 4) ABSENCE of cough and 5) tender lumps in the neck. More symptoms = more liekly to be strep. Less symptoms = might be worth doing a swab rathe than giving the antibiotic (although 3-10% of people might ALWAYS have a positive swab even in the absence of symptoms).

I am not a doctor but: Strep is short for streptococcus. It’s a potentially dangerous bacteria that can lead to things like heart valve damage if left untreated. It can usually be taken care of in most people if treated with the right antibiotic. My guess is that swallowing the crud probably doesn’t matter one way or the other. Stomach acids are pretty strong. If one is taking antibiotics they will attack the bugs whether they are in the stomach or elsewhere. See a doctor. Get tested to be sure it’s really strep (antibiotics are useless against a virus). If meds are prescribed, take ALL of them EXACTLY as directed lest you be a co-conspirator in the development of resistant bacteria.

Thanks for the replies.
We’re sure that it’s strep. She’s been on antibiotics already, and it just comes back when the bottle is empty.
I’m mainly interested in the swallowing question.

If it comes back when the antibiotic is used up, presumably the treating physician then re-tests (to be sure it’s really strep) and tries a different antibiotic.

Yeah, all of this has already happened, and after a plethora of antibiotics, steroids finally made it go away (this was several years ago).

Geez, anybody can be a doctor then…
1- pull out your book of medicines,
2- (optional) cross out the ones already known to cause allergies,
3- pick an antibiotic not already tried
4- sign prescription
5- lather, rinse, repeat

What about the mucus?

As good old reliable dr_ paprika said, the mucus doesn’t matter. Spit, swallow, it makes no difference. Do whichever makes you feel better.


Not really. Most antibiotics have limited spectrum - they’re only effective against certain types of bacteria. You’ve got to know which drugs work on which bacteria. They don’t spend ALL their time in med school twiddling their thumbs and executing wacky hijinks.

What did you still want to know? I thought Dr P gave a pretty good answer to your original questions.

Smeghead, I was just being sarcastic, I’ve been blessed with very caring physicians over the years.
As far as the mucus goes, I just want proof that mom was either right or she was wrong (what I got was the middle-ground). Mainly I wanted affirmation that good ol’ mom was right.

Thanks alot everyone!

Sorry, mom was wrong, Agubwa. While mucus has antibodies, they get broken down in the stomach if you swallow them. They don’t survive the high acid environment very well.