Rapid Strep Test: About This Test

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Picture of the throat and tonsils

What is it?

A rapid strep test checks the bacteria in your throat to see if strep is the cause of your sore throat.

Why is this test done?

It may be done so your doctor can find out right away whether you have strep throat. There is another test for strep, called a throat culture, but that test takes a few days to get the results.

How do you prepare for the test?

You don't need to do anything before you have this test.

How is the test done?

  • You will be asked to tilt your head back and open your mouth as wide as possible.
  • Your doctor will press your tongue down with a flat stick (tongue depressor) and then examine your mouth and throat.
  • A clean cotton swab will be rubbed over the back of your throat, around your tonsils, and over any red areas or sores to collect a sample.

How long does the test take?

  • The test takes less than a minute.
  • Results are available in 10 to 15 minutes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.