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When Should You Consider Getting a Rapid Strep Throat Test?

Rapid strep throat test entails a quick swab of the throat and it is used to check for the presence of group A streptococcus bacteria. This bacteria is responsible for a wide variety of infections, including strep throat, abscess, pneumonia, and scarlet fever. This article gives information regarding the best time to get a rapid strep throat test.

What is Strep Throat?

Strep throat can be referred to as a condition that affects the tonsils and the back of your throat. It can cause the affected area to appear swollen and irritated, leading to a sore throat. When this happens, it becomes painful for you to swallow and you may develop white or yellow spots on the affected area. In addition to this, you may develop a coating on the tonsils and throat and your lymph nodes may swell, becoming tender to touch.

Strep throat is a condition that is very common among 5-10 year olds. In fact, about 20% of school going children may be carrying the bacteria, despite the lack of symptoms. In children, strep throat can lead to headaches, body aches, nausea, vomiting, stomachache, and listlessness. It is good to note that the infection does not include other cold symptoms like coughing, a runny nose, or sneezing.

Symptoms of Strep Throat

The main sign of a strep throat is a sore throat. Viruses and colds can also lead to a sore throat. With strep throat, the sore throat comes quite fast and will often feel raw, making it hard for you to swallow. Despite these signs, strep throat can be accompanied by other symptoms such as red and swollen tonsils, appetite loss, white or yellow patches on the throat, fever, rashes, and tiny red spots in the mouth. When you visit a doctor, they will want to know these symptoms so that they can go ahead and do the test.

What is a Rapid Strep Test?

A rapid strep throat test is a diagnostic tool that is implemented to determine whether strep bacteria is present in an individual’s throat or not. Apart from the throat, this test can be used to check for the presence of Streptococci in other infected areas like the perianal infection or vulvar infection.

When the procedure is being conducted on the throat, it is good to note that a good sample of the throat secretion is required to ensure the results are accurate. The patient must thus stay very still during the procedure so the physician is able to collect the right amount of secretions for the best possible results. Rapid strep test results are usually available after about 10 minutes.

Why is a Rapid Strep Test Conducted?

A rapid strep throat test is mainly conducted if an individual is showing positive signs of a strep throat infection or when a person has been exposed to a strep throat infection during an epidemic. Apart from this, a rapid strep throat test can also be conducted when an individual has a family or personal history of rheumatic fever or other related infections like toxic shock syndrome. In such occasions where there are no significant symptoms, a culture test may be conducted because it might offer better results than a rapid strep test.

Rapid Strep Throat Test Results

The results of a rapid strep throat test can be either normal or abnormal. When the results are normal or negative, it means that the strep throat bacteria was not present. However, it is good to note that at times, negative results can be wrong. You may thus have negative rapid strep throat test results and still have the condition. It is for this reason that your doctor may suggest that a strep throat culture is done in case the results are negative. When the results are abnormal or positive, your doctor might suggest that you start an antibiotic treatment. An abnormal result cannot help to distinguish those individuals with an active strep throat infection from the carriers of the strep bacteria.

To conduct a rapid strep throat test, the tonsils and throat are swabbed to collect bacteria from the affected area. Your physician analyzes the bacteria to see the presence of streptococcal bacteria that could be causing the sore throat condition. A good sample of the secretion is required to ensure the test results are accurate. An individual should remain still during the test procedure to collect a good amount of secretions to achieve accurate test results. You should get your test results within 10 minutes or so.

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