Sore Throat (cont.)
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Sore Throat Diagnosis
History and physical examination are the most important tools in diagnosis. When epiglottitis or occasionally croup is suspected, neck X-rays may be helpful. A blood count and antibody test may be helpful when mononucleosis is suspected to confirm the diagnosis.
A throat swab to check for a strep throat infection (strep throat is a common name for streptococcal pharyngitis) is useful in selected cases. The so-called "rapid strep" test is sometimes unreliable, however, so often a doctor prescribes antibiotics based on the history and examination alone. A throat culture is a more reliable test, but the results take 24 hours to return. Treatment with antibiotics can be either initiated on a delayed basis or discontinued if begun already based on this final result.
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