Should I get tested for strep throat?
May 6, 2016 9:45 AM   Subscribe

My boyfriend just got diagnosed with Strep throat. His symptoms showed up Tuesday-Wednesday and I last saw him on Sunday. Now my throat hurts, but I'm also hungover. Should I get tested for strep? I'm paranoid because my tonsils are extremely reactive so when I get a throat infection it can get really really bad.
posted by bengalibelle to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
Get thee to a doctor. Why would you even bother risking not going if you've got a history of being extremely susceptible to this sort of thing?
posted by lizbunny at 9:49 AM on May 6, 2016 [8 favorites]

Strep throat is most contagious starting a few days before symptoms show up, so you're certainly at risk.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 10:01 AM on May 6, 2016

You could wait until tomorrow to see if you feel fine. If you're really worried, you could go now. Strep is unlikely to be serious if you wait 30 hours after first symptoms to get diagnosed (I feel like average is more than this). Try not to infect coworkers or others of you can (I'd assume you may be contagious). You could have it, but you may not.
posted by Kalmya at 10:09 AM on May 6, 2016

I don't have any idea why you would consider not getting tested. Go to urgent care and have them swab your throat -- it takes about three minutes and isn't expensive. There's literally no downside to doing it and probably no upside to not doing it.
posted by holborne at 10:10 AM on May 6, 2016

Unless money is a serious issue, just go to your local walk-in clinic. If you are in an urban/suburban area of the US you can just go to a Walgreen's or CVS that has a "minute clinic" or similar, which will likely be faster and cheaper than urgent care. Strep is extremely treatable - if you catch it and start treating it, you may be able to avoid the worst symptoms altogether.
posted by lunasol at 10:21 AM on May 6, 2016

Yep. Go get swabbed. Your doc will probably put you on antibiotics even before the results come back, just to be safe. It's easy to cure, but miserable to have.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:22 AM on May 6, 2016

Of course you should go to the doctor and tell them your symptoms. They will probably give you a strep test.

I'm prone to strep (and also other less concerning throat annoyance), and my red flag is always running a fever. But I think that in your situation, wrt the hangover, I'd probably just give in and go to the doctor.
posted by Sara C. at 10:23 AM on May 6, 2016

Most urgent care clinics can do a quick strep test, so other than the expense, it'll be good for your peace of mind. Plus, strep goes away so quickly with the appropriate treatment, it's good to get yourself treated right away.
posted by xingcat at 10:53 AM on May 6, 2016

Thanks all! At urgent care strep, just paranoia :-) but she said there are white patches and my throat is swollen so she is putting me on amoxicillin anyway. In case y'all were curious hahaha
posted by bengalibelle at 11:01 AM on May 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

At urgent care strep, just paranoia :-) but she said there are white patches and my throat is swollen

Sounds like you really do have strep to me. The rapid strep test has a false negative incidence rate of something like 10-20%.

Feel better!
posted by schroedingersgirl at 11:29 AM on May 6, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seconding the problem with the rapid test. My doctor does not do the rapid test it is so unreliable. Are they also doing the longer culture for you?
posted by andoatnp at 12:18 PM on May 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nah, they just gave me an antibiotic scrip to be safe. Yeah it definitely feels and looks like an infection beyond a hangover. Thanks for the support :-)
posted by bengalibelle at 12:26 PM on May 6, 2016

Chiming in late to say my mom eventually needed a kidney transplant for a strep infection that spread to her kidneys as a young teen. Strep is usually just annoying, but in reality can cause serious infection. I always say go to the doctor if you have been exposed to someone who has had it.
posted by momochan at 7:02 PM on May 6, 2016

Strep throat hurts A LOT! If you can't swallow anything more than cold liquids or tiny sips of water you probably have strep throat. Your antibiotics should clear it up in the next day or two.
posted by bendy at 3:04 AM on May 7, 2016

My daughter gets strep off and on. Since it's normally during cold season I'll more often than not have a sore throat or a cold anyway. I always just go get swabbed. Id say 1 in 4 times I actually tested for strep. The one time I tested positive I really didn't even feel sick. The time I was absolutely sure I had strep cuz I felt like ass I did not have it. It's so easy for me to go to urgent care and it's way easier than waiting around until you get really sick for days.
posted by museum of fire ants at 6:39 AM on May 7, 2016

Urgent care gives out antibiotics like they are candy sometimes. Giving antibiotics for a sore throat "just to be safe" is silly and they do it for your patient satisfaction scores (they also do this for the common cold quite frequently). Antibiotics are not benign, and even strep throats for the most part don't need to be treated with antibiotics (I know it's what's typically done, but I'm just pointing out that strep throat self resolves without antibiotics and in Europe, antibiotics are not the standard for strep for this reason).

Check out this Centor Score calculator: I suspect when you enter in your situation, you'll get that the probability of strep is less than 20% and that rapid strep or culture testing are optional.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:14 PM on May 7, 2016

Also to the point, if a provider is not going to base their treatment on the results of a test, then why do the test in the first place?
posted by treehorn+bunny at 12:23 PM on May 7, 2016

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