How do I know if my child has strep throat?

Visit your health care provider if the symptoms suggest strep throat. Your child will be examined and may be given a strep test(throat culture). Viral illnesses can have the same symptoms as strep throat. Thus, it is important that a throat swab be done to confirm the presence of the Strep bacteria in the throat.

What is a strep test?

A strep test looks for Streptococcus bacteria in the throat. The test is painless and takes very little time. The tip of a cotton swab is used to wipe the back of the throat. The swab is then tested.

The rapid strep test takes approximately 20 minutes; if the test is positive (the Streptococcus bacteria is found), the patient has strep throat. If the test is negative (no signs of Streptococcus), the doctor may send the throat swab to a laboratory to double-check the results. Some doctors may not do a rapid strep test and instead just send the throat swab to the laboratory.

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