Strep Throat Test Vs. Sore Throat Test – Is There a Difference?

Sore throat got your little one feeling blue? Well, before you rush out to the doctor thinking it must be strep throat, it's important to distinguish what could be the cause of their itchy, scratchy, or painful to swallow throat. It could just be a common cold or allergies that will go away with a little TLC. However, if your child has some more severe symptoms associated with strep, such as fever or white dots in the back of their throat, chances are it could be strep. A simple at-home test can guide you in the right direction. 

Sore Throat Causes

Sore throats are often caused by viruses such as the common cold, flu, covid, mono, chickenpox, measles, and croup, making them difficult to cure other than by soothing them. Sore throats may also just be from irritants like:

  • dry air
  • pollution or smoke (including cigarette smoke)
  • allergies

What is Strep Throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection on the back of the throat and/or tonsils that comes from a group of bacteria called Group A Streptococci (GAS) bacterium, AKA, Strep. Strep accounts for approximately 1/3 of all sore throat illnesses in children. According to Mayo Clinic, strep throat is highly contagious and is most common in school-age kids and teens between 5 to 15 years old, although anyone can get it. Strep cases tend to rise during the school year (typically in winter/early spring) when kids are indoors more and in close quarters.


Signs of Strep Throat Include:

  • Sudden sore throat
  • Pain/difficulty while swallowing
  • Fever
  • Tonsils that are red, swollen, and covered with white dots (pus)
  • Rash (Scarlet fever) 
  • Swollen glands (lymph nodes) 
  • Headache
  • Tired/fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

So, is there a difference between a sore throat test and a strep test?

The answer is no; they are one and the same. A sore throat is a symptom of many different illnesses, including strep throat, but a rapid at-home strep test will help rule out if your child's sore throat is strep or just due to a virus. Strep throat is highly contagious and requires antibiotics to kill the infection, so knowing the difference is essential.

At-Home Rapid Strep Tests

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. Aside from peace of mind, 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 they start antibiotic treatment, which will prevent further complications and help avoid spreading the bacteria to others.


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 telehealth primary care physician that prescribes the proper antibiotics in minutes. No need to contact your doctor.


Knowing what you’re dealing with is the first step in getting the right treatment so your little one can feel better. 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.