Strep throat is an infection caused by a specific type of bacteria, Streptococcus. When your child has a strep throat, the tonsils are usually very inflamed, and the inflammation may affect the surrounding part of the throat as well.
How to diagnose:
Rapid strep test:
A rapid strep test can be performed in the office and the results are in just a few minutes. If the rapid strep test is negative, we may confirm the result with a throat culture.
A negative test means that the infection is presumed to be due to a virus. In that case, antibiotics (which work against bacteria, not viruses) will not help and need not be prescribed.
A throat culture is performed for a negative rapid strep test result. This is to confirm that it is a negative test. This involves touching the back of the throat and tonsils with a cotton-tipped applicator. The tip is then sent to a lab, where it is smeared onto a special culture dish that allows strep bacteria to grow if they are present. The culture dish usually is examined 24-48 hours later for the presence of the bacteria.