Tests and Examinations for Strep Throat
To diagnose for strep throat, the doctor needs to review the medical history of the patient and have the patient undergo a physical exam of the throat as well as a rapid strep test. To verify the existence of strep throat infection, a throat culture may also be required.
The doctor may proceed for strep throat treatment if the patient shows the following symptoms: absence of sneezing or coughing, tender and/or swollen lymph nodes on the neck, tonsils or throat that manifest yellow or white coating or spots and/or a fever reaching 101 degrees Fahrenheit and over.
- Rapid strep test – This is a test to ascertain the presence of bacteria in the patient’s throat. The physician utilizes a cotton swab to collect saliva and other samples on the back of the patient’s throat for analysis.
- Throat culture – This test also uses a cotton swab to gather saliva and other materials from the back of your throat and places the swab to a container with other materials that help increase the production of strep bacteria. When the culture grows strep bacteria grow, then the throat has strep infection, if the strep bacteria do not grow, the throat is negative for strep infection. If the presence of strep bacteria is detected, immediate treatment is given to the patient to prevent the spread of the bacteria and also to prevent the rise of any complications like the risk of sinus or ear infections or even the development of any abscess around or behind the patient’s tonsil’s clinically known as peritonsillar abscess. For treatment, antibiotics are given to the patient for prompt healing and for the prevention of infection spread to other parts of the patient’s body. Another testing may be needed if after antibiotic treatment, the patient still has symptoms or the symptoms have returned or if the patient has developed rheumatic fever. Sometimes an infected person may not show symptoms of strep infection. If this happens or if the infected person experiences toxic shock syndrome or a rheumatic fever, that person should be tested for strep infection. These types of situations happen rarely though.
- Complete blood count or CBC – This test requires extraction of a sample of blood on the patient. An elevated level of white blood cells can reveal the presence of either a viral or bacterial infection.
- Monospot test – This is a test to detect heterophil, a type of antibody that appears when the patient has some kind of infection. When the blood starts adhere, heterophils are present which means the presence of mononucleosis
- EBV antibody test – Blood samples are also taken from the patient and combined with a material that attaches to antibodies against EBV. The presence of antibodies may indicate mononucleosis.
- Allergy tests – Sore throat may be a side effect from allergy. The doctor may require an allergy test if he suspects the patient’s sore throat is due to an allergy.
Dr. Yelena Pakula is a licensed acupuncture doctor and the medical director of Vita-Health Acupuncture and Wellness Center in Pembroke Pines, FL.