How To Tell If You Have Strep Throat
At the first sign of a sore throat, many people start wondering how to tell if you have strep throat. Strep throat is a painful infection caused by streptococcus bacteria. It's important to tell if you have strep throat so it can be treated with antibiotics.
- See your doctor. Only medical testing conducted by a professional can tell if you have strep throat. You can't diagnose strep throat yourself. Even if you think you have strep throat symptoms, you can't tell for sure whether you have a strep infection or just a virus.
- Tell your doctor your symptoms. Besides a sore throat, you may have a fever, swollen tonsils and a headache if you have strep throat. Your doctor will write down your symptoms and examine your throat and neck to see if there's any swelling.
- Take a rapid strep test. Your doctor will swab your throat with cotton and run a rapid strep test on the sample. This test can tell if you have strep throat within about fifteen minutes.
- Undergo further testing if your doctor orders it. Rapid strep tests are not always completely accurate. If your rapid strep test is negative but your doctor still thinks your symptoms might indicate strep throat, she may order a throat culture. She'll send a sample of the mucus from your throat to a laboratory. The laboratory will then test the sample for streptococcus bacteria. It can take two days to hear back from the laboratory, but it's worth the wait to tell if you have strep throat.