Strep Throat Testing and Treatment
In most situations, a sore throat is caused by a viral infection. It is common to have a sore throat when you have a cold or the flu. Antibiotics do not have any effect on viruses, so the illness must run its course. Within a short time, the infection will go away.
A bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics. Strep throat caused by streptococcal infection can be treated in this way. Strep throat is less common than viral throat infections. It also needs to be treated with urgent care to prevent complications from developing.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that a child with a sore throat should be seen by a doctor if it does not go away with the first drink in the morning. You should also get immediate medical attention for your child if he or she has difficulty breathing or swallowing. Unusual drooling can be an indication of an inability to swallow.
Adults need medical attention for a sore throat if it has been around for more than a week, your temperature is higher than 101 F (38.3 C) or if the pain is severe and causing difficulty when you swallow. You should see a doctor if your sore throat causes you to have difficulty in breathing or opening your mouth.
Testing for Strep Throat
Strep throat can cause complications with your kidneys or lead to rheumatic fever without treatment. This less-common sore throat is seen more in children, although anyone can get it. Testing consists of a rapid antigen test that detects strep bacteria in minutes. Sometimes this test will be negative, and your doctor may order a throat culture to confirm.
With a throat culture, a sterile swab is rubbed over your tonsils and the back of your throat. Secretions are gathered on the swab, then cultured in a lab. Results may take up to two days.
Treatment for strep throat involves antibiotics. Prompt treatment can reduce the duration of the infection as well as its severity, but antibiotics must be taken within the first 48 hours of onset. If there is no improvement after two days of treatment, you should contact your doctor.
For prompt diagnosis and treatment, contact Dr. Michael. We can provide same day appointments and urgent care for medical emergencies.