Rapid Strep Test: About This Test

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What is it?

Picture of the throat and tonsils

A rapid strep test checks the bacteria in your throat to see if strep is the cause of your sore throat.

Why is this test done?

It may be done so your doctor can find out right away whether you have strep throat. There is another test for strep, called a throat culture, but that test takes a few days to get the results.

How can you prepare for the test?

You don't need to do anything before you have this test.

What happens during the test?

  • You will be asked to tilt your head back and open your mouth as wide as possible.
  • Your doctor will press your tongue down with a flat stick (tongue depressor) and then examine your mouth and throat.
  • A clean cotton swab will be rubbed over the back of your throat, around your tonsils, and over any red areas or sores to collect a sample.

How long does the test take?

  • The test takes less than a minute.
  • Results are available in 10 to 15 minutes.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your pain gets worse on one side of your throat, or you have trouble opening your mouth.
  • You have a new or higher fever, or you have a fever with a stiff neck or severe headache.
  • Swallowing becomes harder, or you have any trouble breathing.
  • You are sensitive to light or feel very sleepy or confused.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not start to feel better after 2 days.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: July 29, 2016