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Strep Throat Diagnosis

To determine whether someone with a sore throat has strep throat, a healthcare provider will consider several factors. Some of these factors include current symptoms, when the symptoms started, and the person's age. There are also a couple of tests that are used to diagnose strep throat, including a rapid strep test and a culture test.

How Is Strep Throat Diagnosed?

In order to diagnose strep throat, a healthcare provider will begin by asking a number of questions. These questions will center around:
 
  • Current symptoms (see Strep Throat Symptoms)
  • When the symptoms started
  • If anyone else in the family (or close contacts) is also sick.
     
He or she will also consider the age of the person and the time of year.
 
After the medical history is complete, the healthcare provider will then do a physical exam looking for signs or symptoms of strep throat.
 

Tests to Diagnose Strep Throat

If the healthcare provider thinks that a person has strep throat, he or she will take a throat swab, which takes a sample of fluids from the back of the throat.
 
This sample will be used for a rapid strep test and/or a throat culture. These tests look for signs of the bacteria that cause strep throat. A rapid strep test takes about 10 to 20 minutes to get the results.
 
If the result of the rapid strep test is negative, the healthcare provider might take another sample and do a culture test to make sure the person really does not have strep throat. This test takes 24 to 48 hours to get the results. If this culture test is also negative, the healthcare provider may suspect the person does not have strep, but rather another type of infection.
 
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Strep Throat Information

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