How Long Does it Take to Get Strep Results : Simple Test Gives Fast Results

How Long Does it Take to Get Strep Results : Simple Test Gives Fast Results

Only a rapid strep test or throat culture can determine if group A strep is the cause. A doctor cannot tell if someone has strep throat just by looking at his or her throat.

Results are typically available in 10-20 minutes.


A rapid strep test involves swabbing the throat and running a test on the swab. The test quickly shows if group A strep is causing the illness. If the test is positive, doctors can prescribe antibiotics. If the test is negative, but a doctor still suspects strep throat, then the doctor can take a throat culture swab.

A throat culture takes time to see if group A strep bacteria grow from the swab. While it takes more time, a throat culture sometimes finds infections that the rapid strep test misses. Culture is important to use in children and teens since they can get rheumatic fever from an untreated strep throat infection.

For adults, it is usually not necessary to do a throat culture following a negative rapid strep test. Adults are generally not at risk of getting rheumatic fever following a strep throat infection.

Someone with strep throat should start feeling better in just a day or two after starting antibiotics. Call the doctor if you or your child are not feeling better after taking antibiotics for 48 hours.

Children and Certain Adults Are at Increased Risk

Anyone can get strep throat, but there are some factors that can increase the risk of getting this common infection.

Strep throat is more common in children than adults. It is most common in children 5 through 15 years old. It is rare in children younger than 3 years old. Adults who are at increased risk for strep throat include:

  • Parents of school-aged children
  • Adults who are often in contact with children

Close contact with another person with strep throat is the most common risk factor for illness. For example, if someone has strep throat, it often spreads to other people in their household.

Infectious illnesses tend to spread wherever large groups of people gather together. Crowded conditions can increase the risk of getting a group A strep infection. These settings include:

  • Schools
  • Daycare centers
  • Military training facilities

The Methodology

You will be asked to have your child open his or her mouth as wide as possible by a medical professional. The tongue may be depressed with a flat stick (tongue depressor) to provide a better view of the back of the throat if it cannot be seen clearly. To collect a sample, a clean, soft cotton swab will be lightly brushed across the back of the throat, over the tonsils, and over any red or sore areas..

Preventing movement that could make it difficult for the doctor to obtain an adequate sample may necessitate having your child sit on your lap while the procedure is being performed.

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