How do doctors test for strep throat?

How strep throat is diagnosed depends on your child’s age. Babies under age 2 are not usually tested for strep throat. Babies do not usually catch the infection.

If your child has symptoms, there are 2 types of tests:

  • Throat culture. This is when a doctor gently rubs a long cotton swab on the back of your child’s throat. The doctor will test the swab for the bacteria that causes strep throat. Results come back within 1-2 days.
  • Rapid strep test. This is similar to a throat culture, but the results come back within a few minutes.
Rev. 4/2018. Reviewed by the MGHfC Family Advisory Council.