In most cases, it is hard to distinguish between a viral sore throat and a strep throat based on physical examination. It is important, though, to know if the sore throat is caused by GABHS, as this requires antibiotic treatment to help prevent the complications associated with these bacteria.
As a result, when most children have these symptoms, they will receive a strep test and throat culture to determine if it is an infection caused by GABHS. This usually involves a throat swab (called quick tests or rapid strep tests) in the physician's office.
This may immediately become positive for GABHS and antibiotics will be started. If it is negative, part of the throat swab will be kept for a throat culture. This will further identify, in two to three days, if there is any GABHS present. Your child's physician will decide the treatment plan based on the findings.