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...

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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