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anyone know anything about those swab tests they use for strep throat?

i am curious, if the test is completely blank before hand (like a pregnancy test) and the lines only begin to show after the substance has been placed on it (the cotton swab used to swab the throat), or, if the lines are already there very faintly, and darken after the substance is placed on it.

the reason i ask, i took my 4 and 2 year old into the doctor today for separate issues. 4 year old has an eye infection, and 2 year old vomited constantly yesterday. the doctor chalked it up to a virus, until i mentioned that i just got over strep last week. she said the vomiting could be an early symptom of strep, so she swabbed her. there was a very, very faint pink line that showed afterwards. so faint, you had to squint to see it. but it was definitely there. she said it wouldn't show anything if there was nothing to show at all. but she didn't seem sure, usually the nurses do the test for her. i wasn't about to argue with her though, id been in the office for 2 hours already, by myself with 3 kids under the age of 5. im still going to give the antibiotics and everything. just wondering if there's a chance she doesn't really have it. she's not crying in pain or anything, and i know the pain of strep is unbearable. i suppose we could've caught it very early on.


Asked by tnm786 at 4:17 PM on Jan. 10, 2011 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (10)
  • Sometimes strep doesn't hurt much at all. It hurt like hell whenever I got it as a kid and my oldest daughter would be in agony as well. But my two youngest have had it and never even said their throat hurt. Just depends on the individual and strain I suppose. As for the line, it could be that your child is in the very early stages.

    Answer by shanlaree at 4:22 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • It depends on the kid if strep is painful or not. My 11 year old had it earlier in the year and we didn't know for a long time. The only reason we got him tested was because both of his younger brothers had it. He felt perfectly normal and was acting perfectly normal. He has had strep before and was very ill, so I was completely shocked his test came back positive when he had no pain. If it came up positive, then I would take it at face value.
    Vomiting is an indicator of strep in kids too.

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 4:22 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • I've done those test before.
    If the lines are there but faintly she had it. They are just like pregnancy test. With it being faint it may be she just barley getting strep and she was tested in the early stage.

    Answer by mommy_of_two388 at 4:24 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • Also I would like to add... that rapid strep test does not always catch strep, that is why they always swab two and run the longer 24-48 hour test. So if it showed up light on the rapid strep test, I would definitely take it that she has strep.

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 4:23 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • There is more than one kit type used to perform Rapid Strep Screens. If a cartridge test is done: 1. the swab is submerged into an extraction reagent and then dropped into a well in the cartridge. The liquid is wicked up the test area and will bind to a control line. If there are Strep A antigens from the swab, they will bind on the test line causing a pink or blue color. There are many things that can interfere with this type of test. Very faint lines are usually called negative and a culture is ordered. THere are other species of strep that cause a sore throat. The reason it is important to know if it is Strep A is to prevent Scarlet Fever and possible heart damage. I would say this test was negative but needs to be followed up with culture for confirmation. You don't want to treat with antibiotics unless you really need them.

    Answer by babyboyzz at 4:29 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • My son had it in November and he was 20 months. He wasn't in any pain, but threw up constantly (which also didn't seem to bother him). I was in extreme pain for a week!

    Answer by LeanneC at 4:29 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • My kids have been tested for strep many times, so I've learned a few things. The first test is an instant one, but they also do a another test on the culture that takes longer to produce results. The next day, they will have results. Even if the first test is negative, the longer test could turn positive. Call the doctor/nurse and make sure they did both tests on the throat culture.

    Answer by beshka76 at 5:58 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • My son had it last year. He threw up constantly, ran a high fever, etc. He never complained of his throat hurting. Took him to the doctor, did the test and sure enough he had it. But this kid has high tolerance for pain and hates to admit when he is sick. Just like my husband. lol

    Answer by Mom2Just1 at 10:12 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • Two of my 3 kids have had strep. DD runs a high fever 103-104 and vomits with an intense headache. She does it about once a year.

    DS2 had strep twice. Both times he had a fever of 100.5-101 for a day. Then it went away. The first time he had dragon breath. Both times he had a seizure, which lead to the doctor visit which diagnosed the strep (and epilepsy as well.)

    neither complained of much pain. I think it depends on the person. I can't say for myself as I've been lucky as to never to have had it.

    Answer by balagan_imma at 10:37 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

  • i agree with both of you, about catching it early on and takign it at face value. i intend to believe me! im truly glad she's not in any pain, or that it's not going to progress like mine did even after antibiotics. damn, the pain was just awful. i definitely hope she does not go through it!

    Comment by tnm786 (original poster) at 4:24 PM on Jan. 10, 2011

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