We all dread waking up with a tickle in our throat or the words "mommy, my throat hurts." First, you wonder if it's just allergies, a cold coming on, or something more serious...Strep Throat(ugh). Streptococcus (group A strep for short) is typically a mild infection treated with antibiotics. 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 cause of the sore throat was probably viral, not bacterial, and antibiotics won't help.
Did you know that 80% of sore throat visits return a negative result, and the average trip to the doctor takes 4 hours?
Early detection at home can get you the correct diagnosis fast, saving you valuable time and money by skipping a trip to the doctor for unnecessary visits. Plus, getting treatment at the onset of signs can help shorten the duration of symptoms, so you and/or your kids can get back to your schedules but, most importantly, feel better.
What Exactly Is An At-Home Kit and What Am I Testing?
These are all great questions. In general, strep throat tests look for infections with group A streptococcus (GAS) bacteria, most common in children between 5 - 15 years old. At-home strep throat tests are designed to analyze a throat swab to see if strep A bacteria are present. The purpose of at-home strep throat testing is to check for infection with strep A bacteria to distinguish strep throat from other causes of a sore throat. This is important because antibiotics are effective for strep A infections but are not helpful for viral infections like the common cold. Taking antibiotics when not needed can cause resistance making them eventually ineffective.
Testing for strep throat in children and adolescents is also essential because it 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.
Open Up and Say Ahhh
It's that easy. Really. 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 a Strep Test solution, 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.
Benefits of Checkable's At-Home Strep Test
Aside from peace of mind, let us break it down for you. At-home strep tests provide a multitude of benefits, including:
· Convenience: Test kits make it easy to conduct the test in the comfort of your own home and on your schedule without having to make an appointment and waste valuable time.
· Early detection of a strep A infection: The earlier you identify a strep A infection, the quicker the start of antibiotic treatment can improve symptoms and prevent complications. Early detection can also help avoid spreading the bacteria to others as it is highly contagious.
· Reduced doctor visits: Save time and money by skipping a trip to the doctor if it's not needed. The ability to do a rapid at-home strep throat test may reduce the need for some doctor visits. However, if other symptoms arise, please get in touch with your doctor.
· Affordability: 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.
· 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.
The tests are easy to perform, therefore saving parents and pediatricians a lot of time, not to mention money. With accurate results, easy-to-administer tests, and an app connecting you to telemedicine and prescription providers, Checkable's at-home strep kit is a must-have in every household. Sounds like a win-win to me.