There’s nothing worse than waking up with a tickle in our throat or rushing out the door in the morning only to hear your little one says their throat hurts. Sore throats happen to everyone. But if it turns out to be something that requires antibiotics, getting a prescription fast is key to killing the bacteria and getting back to feeling good.
Streptococcus, AKA, strep throat or group A strep for short, is typically a mild infection treated with antibiotics. Strep is most common in children between 5 - 15 years old, but adults and babies can be exposed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 3 out of every 10 children with a sore throat actually tested positive for strep. That means the other 7 probably stemmed from viral, not bacterial, and antibiotics are unnecessary.
Before you rush out and spend 4 hours in the doctor's office for what may just be a sniffle, having an at-home strep throat test can really come in handy. At-home strep throat tests are designed to analyze a throat swab to see if strep A bacteria are present and to distinguish strep throat from other causes of a sore throat. Early detection at home can get you the correct diagnosis fast, saving valuable time and money. But more importantly, if the test is positive, getting treatment at the onset of signs can help shorten the duration of symptoms.
Benefits and Accuracy of an At-Home Strep Test
We already mentioned that at-home strep tests can save valuable time, money, and convenience. But one key benefit of having an at-home strep throat test is it tells you instantly if you need antibiotics or not. Taking antibiotics when not needed can cause resistance making them eventually ineffective. If the test is negative, chances are the sore throat is caused from the common cold, flu, or just seasonal allergies.
Testing for strep throat in children in particular is essential because strep is highly contagious. If untreated, strep A infection can lead to more severe conditions, including sinus infections, tonsil and ear infections, and inflammatory diseases like scarlet fever and rheumatic fever. Plus, you don’t want to send your kids to school if exposed.
How Checkable’s At-Home Strep Tests Work
Pending FDA clearance, Checkable's at-home strep test will come with everything needed to perform an at-home diagnosis to see if strep is positive or negative. Our platform includes the test kit and a digital application that trains home users on how to take a sample and interpret the results. The kit consists of Strep Test, Swab, and Tongue Depressor.
Step 1: Purchase a test
Pick up a test at your neighborhood pharmacy or get it shipped to your door. We suggest always keeping an extra on-hand.
Step 2: Swab throat to analyze at home
Simply use the provided cotton swab to gently touch the tonsils and throat to collect saliva/mucus, then expose the swab to a chemical that reacts in the presence of group A strep. Within about 10 minutes, the test will show a positive or negative result for group A strep.
Step 3: Get results and connect with a healthcare provider for next steps
If strep is detected with positive results, Checkable connects the user with a telemedicine provider with the ability to prescribe antibiotics in minutes.
Step 4: Follow-up Included
For patients who test positive, we connect you virtually to a telemed primary care physician that prescribes the proper antibiotics in minutes. No need to contact your doctor.
While at-home strep tests are not usually covered by insurance, their relatively low cost per test is often less than copayments or deductibles. Getting tested for strep throat at the doctor's visit means co-pays and taking time off work. The tests are easy to perform, time-saving, and affordable. Sounds like a win-win to me. So, are at-home strep tests worth it? If you like convenience, peace of mind, added value, and more time to rest, than we’d say it’s 100% worth it.