What is Rapid Strep?
The majority of sore throats are caused by viruses. While this type of sore throat can be painful and is often accompanied by a cough, runny nose, hoarseness, and/or red eyes, a viral sore throat will usually resolve on its own within a few days. To facilitate recovery, patients are typically advised to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids.
A more serious type of sore throat is caused by the presence of bacteria in the throat. Specifically, a streptococcal infection (known as strep throat) is easily spread from person to person and requires treatment with a course of antibiotics in order to clear up symptoms like fever, stomach pain, rashes, and tender, swollen tonsils.
In order to prescribe the most appropriate treatment for a sore throat, a physician must first determine its underlying cause – a virus or bacteria. Traditionally, a throat culture test has been used for this purpose. While reliable, a throat culture has a major drawback in that this test cannot identify the strep bacteria until it multiplies enough to reach a detectable level. This usually occurs within two to three days after infection, during which time a patient remains highly contagious and also must deal with myriad uncomfortable symptoms.
Rapid strep is a quick and accurate diagnostic tool that a physician can also use to identify the presence of strep bacteria in a patient’s throat earlier than other, traditional methods, and the test results are available within minutes. As such, a patient can benefit immediately and also potentially in the long-term. That’s because prompt antibiotic treatment can alleviate symptoms, shorten the duration of the illness, and prevent the spread of the infection to others. Additionally, in rare cases, a strep infection can also have serious consequences down the road, such the development of rheumatic fever and kidney disease, if the infection is not diagnosed and treated early.
If you have questions or would like to see a doctor for a rapid strep test or sore throat treatment, please contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL, and no appointments are ever needed.