How Long Does a Strep Test Take?

Close up of woman holding a glass of water and gripping her throat in pain on the sofa.

Strep throat is one of the most common diagnoses among sick children between 5 and 10 years old. Up to 20% of school-aged children may be carrying the virus without knowing it. Even with no symptoms, the virus can spread from one person to another through tiny respiratory droplets in the air.

Although most common in kids, strep throat can infect anyone at any age. Get tested today if you are experiencing a painful throat or other symptoms consistent with strep.

What is strep throat?

Strep throat is an infection in the throat and tonsils caused by a bacteria known as group A Streptococcus, or group A strep, for short. This group of bacteria lives in the nose and throat and can spread easily from person to person.

People who are infected spread the bacteria by tiny respiratory droplets in the air from talking, coughing or sneezing. They can also spread the bacteria from infected sores found on the skin.

Symptoms of a strep infection typically appear 2 to 5 days after exposure. Although some people don’t experience any symptoms, those with the worst symptoms can spread it most rapidly.

Strep throat is treated with antibiotics, most commonly penicillin or amoxicillin. Only those with symptoms require antibiotic treatment.

What are the symptoms?

In most instances, strep throat is a mild to moderate illness that does not require extensive treatment or a stay in the hospital.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Fever
  • Red and swollen tonsils
  • White patches or streaks of pus on the back of the mouth or tonsils
  • Tiny, red spots on the roof of the mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

Other symptoms, especially in children, may include:

  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Scarlet fever

How do you test for strep throat?

A throat swab is used to test for strep throat. There are two types of swabs: a rapid test and a throat culture. Both check for the presence of the strep A bacteria. While a rapid test provides results quickly, a throat culture takes time to see if group A strep bacteria grows from the cultured swab.

How long does a strep test take?

The actual throat swab test takes only a few seconds.

The timing for strep test results depends on the test given. A rapid strep test typically takes 15 minutes or less to show results, while the results of a throat culture can take 2 to 5 days.

If you feel as though you are experiencing symptoms of strep, get a rapid test today.

At Getwell Urgent Care, we offer strep tests 7 days a week. Walk-in, schedule an appointment online, or contact us today at 662-747-4805 for more information on rapid strep testing.