A strep swab is a medical test that uses a cotton applicator to collect a throat sample for examination under a microscope to diagnose strep throat. Antibiotics are prescribed for treatment, and good hygiene can help prevent infection.
A strep swab is a medical diagnostic test that uses a sterile cotton applicator to swab the throat for a sample of secretions. The sample is then examined under a microscope to look for the strep bacteria that is causing the sore throat. There are two different types of strep tampons. One type is known as a rapid strep test, where results are available in about 15 minutes. The second test is a throat culture, which is done in a similar way, although it is considered more accurate and may take two days to show results.
The rapid strep swab test is invaluable because it allows the healthcare provider to diagnose strep quickly and, therefore, implement treatment quickly. Symptoms of strep throat include redness, sore throat, inflammation of the tonsils, and sometimes white spots or pockets of pus in the crypts of the tonsils. In addition, fever, difficulty swallowing, headache and rash may appear. Loss of appetite, vomiting, chills, and stomach pain also often occur.
When the strep swab shows the presence of strep, the doctor usually prescribes antibiotics. Since strep is bacterial and not viral in nature, antibiotics will be effective in eradicating the infection. In addition to the use of antibiotics, drinking plenty of fluids and resting can help the patient feel better. Staying hydrated is important because fever, diarrhea and vomiting can deplete fluids and cause dehydration. Antibiotics sometimes cause diarrhea, so replacing fluids with water or a drink containing electrolytes will help the patient feel better.
Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer will also help relieve sore throats and body aches and reduce fever. It’s important to note that children under the age of 18 should never take aspirin because it can put them at risk for a serious medical condition known as Reyes syndrome, which can attack the brain and other organs. Alternatives to aspirin include ibuprofen and acetaminophen, however, these medications should be discussed with the doctor before a child takes them.
After the strep swab comes back positive and antibiotics have been prescribed, the patient or their caregiver will usually be instructed on the importance of taking the antibiotics for the full recommended course. Failure to complete antibiotics can result in the strep coming back and could even promote antibiotic resistance. While a sore throat can’t always be prevented, practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands thoroughly and not sharing glasses or silverware, could prevent an infection.