Pharyngitis – often simply referred to as a sore throat – is common but rarely serious. By testing for bacterial infections such as strep throat, an appropriate diagnosis can be made. This test is a swab of the throat, which can be done quickly in your doctor’s office or in a lab. If the test is negative, the sore throat is probably caused by a virus and antibiotics are not the best treatment.
This measure shows the percent of children in each practice who had a sore throat and got an antibiotic after having a throat swab test. A higher number is better. Getting antibiotics without the throat swab is not correct according to this measure.
Why it is important
A sore throat doesn’t always mean a bacterial infection. If your child doesn’t have a bacterial infection (strep throat), he or she doesn’t need an antibiotic. Very often patients get better by treating symptoms without antibiotics. It’s best to avoid the overuse of antibiotics, because bacteria may develop a resistance to them. This causes antibiotics to become less effective, making it harder to fight a serious infection later.
What you and your doctor should do
Talk about the best tests and medicines to diagnose and treat possible strep throat.