Diagnosis

Your doctor will conduct a physical exam, look for signs and symptoms of strep throat, and probably order one or more of the following tests:

  • Rapid antigen test. Your doctor will likely first perform a rapid antigen test on a swab sample from your throat. This test can detect strep bacteria in minutes by looking for substances (antigens) in the throat. If the test is negative but your doctor still suspects strep, he or she might do a throat culture.
  • Throat culture. A sterile swab is rubbed over the back of the throat and tonsils to get a sample of the secretions. It's not painful, but it may cause gagging. The sample is then cultured in a laboratory for the presence of bacteria, but results can take as long as two days.
Dec. 16, 2015
References
  1. Is it strep throat? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/Features/strepthroat/?authent_user=Stratford_Sub_Castle\hwaters&authent_user_sig=199dce7b3832cd37039a9b6ede9f36ba&authent_session=6eed9f36dca4e6ffbf7a5d42b3457d94&authent_session_sig=f0e63cbb1201bbd31e400fd39ac35a27. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
  2. Pichichero ME. Complications of streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
  3. Clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis and management of group A streptococcal pharyngitis: 2012 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Arlington, Va.: Infectious Disease Society of America. http://www.idsociety.org/Search.aspx?&lcid=9&q=strep&tz=America%2FChicago. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
  4. Sore throats. American Academy of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/soreThroats.cfm. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.
  5. Pichichero ME. Treatment and prevention of streptococcal tonsillopharyngitis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 5, 2015.