Strep Throat (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
Strep throat is diagnosed from your medical history, a physical exam of your throat, and a rapid strep test. A throat culture may sometimes be done to confirm the result of the rapid strep test or when your doctor suspects the rapid strep test result was inaccurate.
Current treatment guidelines recommend that your doctor confirm strep throat with a rapid strep test and not just diagnose strep throat from your symptoms.1 But your doctor may begin treatment for strep throat before the result of your throat culture is back if you have 3 or 4 of the following symptoms:2
One or both of the following tests are used to confirm that you have strep throat.
If symptoms of strep throat are present, it is important to be tested for strep infection. Prompt treatment will reduce the spread of strep throat and may reduce the risk of complications, such as the infection spreading to other parts of your body causing ear or sinus infections or an abscess behind or around your tonsils (peritonsillar abscess).
If you need to be tested for strep throat, the choice between a rapid strep test and a throat culture may not be clear. It may help to discuss with your doctor the advantages and disadvantages of each test. For instance, results from a rapid strep test are available within 10 to 15 minutes, and results from a throat culture may take 1 to 2 days. A throat culture is more accurate.
Testing is not needed:
It is possible for a person to carry the strep bacteria and not have any symptoms. If a number of infections occur in the same family, or if there have been severe complications such as rheumatic fever or toxic shock syndrome, it may be helpful to test family members to learn whether they are carriers of strep infection. But it is unusual for a person to catch strep throat from a carrier.3
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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