Tip of the Week: Home strep throat tests

If you have kids at home and are worried about strep throat, check out the over-the-counter rapid strep kits on Amazon.  I have not seen them for sale in local pharmacies, but online ordering is simple and requires no medical license.

The Rapid Response Strep A Kit is one of the most affordable.  The more elegant Quidel Quickvue is more costly, but perhaps a bit simpler for the layman.  I have used them both.  There are several other brands I have not tried, but as long as they are FDA approved, they should be fine.

Your doctor probably is unaware these kits can be purchased by non-professionals, and would be concerned about the accuracy of testing.  Each test does come with a positive and negative control, which helps.  I would consider a positive test as a true positive.  A negative test may be due to operator error, or may be a true negative.  Currently, physicians confirm a negative test with the more accurate culture (at least in children).

The kits have a shelf life of at least a year, and often longer.  Would they be accurate a decade from now?  My suspicion is yes, if stored under optimum conditions, though I cannot vouch for this.

Rapid strep testing is probably the best option for TEOTWAWKI.  Strep throat cultures require additional expertise, storage, and interpretation.

When you purchase a kit, read ALL the fine print and experiment with a few test strips.  You can learn this on your own (but we do cover home testing in detail in my Survival Medicine 101 workshop.)

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About Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

CYNTHIA J KOELKER , MD is a board-certified family physician with over twenty years of clinical experience. A member of American Mensa, Dr. Koelker holds degrees in biology, humanities, medicine, and music from M.I.T., Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and the University of Akron. She served in the National Health Service Corps to finance her medical education.
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2 Responses to Tip of the Week: Home strep throat tests

  1. Ron E Bowman says:

    Good tip:
    This is a brand new Patriot Protest Song, with emphasis on The Economic Collapse. I made a long version & a shorter version for “air play”. I made this You Tube Wednesday night July24, 2013:
    Mouse Trap by The Whistleblowers
    We are from Florida where the Stand Your Ground law is under attack. This is going viral in Tallahassee and soon the entire State & Country.
    This is original material all copyrighted and written by me. It is fresh off the grill. I’m giving you permission to use this song anyway you choose. My intent is to share & spread the truth. Below is the Cloud link that contains the audio of the short & long version:
    Please give this a listen. It will be worth your time.
    Thank you & Please Share This
    Ron E Bowman bowm04@yahoo.com
    Navarre, FL

  2. Mark_4 says:

    Hi Doc. A rapid strep kit has been on my wishlist for awhile, low priority as we don’t have children – but some might arrive here with their parents if the SHTF near their house. Question, if someone tests positive should we then test everyone in the house and treat anyone that tests positive even if asymptomatic?

    [No, without symptoms true infection is unlikely, and antibiotics probably won’t eliminate a carrier state.]

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