Is it Really Strep Throat? Fairview Zipnosis Provides Quick Answers

Mornings that start with a child complaining of a sore throat and headache can disrupt the entire household’s day. As a parent, you have to decide—is it a minor cold symptom or something more serious, like strep throat?

Now you have easy access to quick answers so you’ll know if your child has to miss school. OnCare is a convenient, fast way to get care. Log in from your smartphone or computer and you’ll receive a treatment plan in less than an hour, 24 hours a day.

How does it work?
Fairview’s online care tool walks you through the same questions a doctor would ask you or your child about their symptoms. Once you complete the online interview, a provider reviews your answers, and provides a diagnosis and treatment. If answers point to strep throat, you’ll be directed to a nearby lab for a quick throat swab, the only way to know for sure. While it does mean you have to leave home, you get to bypass a clinic waiting room and downtime in an exam room, and you’ll find the costs to be less than a typical clinic or urgent care visit.

“This online care option is just $25 and open to everyone, regardless of your health insurance,” says Dang Tran, MD, vice president of medical practice for Fairview Clinics. “We can diagnose and treat dozens of common conditions, from sinus and bladder infections to pinkeye. ‘Do I have strep?’ is one of the most common questions we get.”

We talked with Dr. Tran about the symptoms of strep, and how OnCare can help you or your child feel better fast.

  1. Why bother with an online diagnostic tool if I have to take my child into a clinic anyway?
    Symptoms of strep throat and a sore throat due to a cold can be very similar. It takes about five minutes to tell us about your problem online. A provider will review your symptoms and either provide treatment advice right away, or recommend a throat culture to confirm strep throat. If it’s not strep, you’ve avoided leaving home. If a lab test is needed, this route is quicker than going to a clinic or urgent care. People who’ve used this service rave about how easy it is.
  2. What are typical symptoms of strep throat?
    In addition to a severe sore throat, strep typically results in a fever and/or headache and swollen lymph glands. You may notice that your child’s tonsils are swollen and see tiny red spots or white patches. Children may get sick to their stomach. Some will develop a pink rash that feels like sandpaper.
  3. If my child has those symptoms, why do we need a lab test? Can’t I just get antibiotics?
    The majority of the time these symptoms are caused by a virus, like the common cold. A lab test is the only way to know for sure if it’s an infection. Antibiotics will not help with a virus, and in fact, can cause harm. Some people get mild side effects like diarrhea and rashes, while others can develop serious reactions. Taking antibiotics too often can also lead to bacteria that are resistant to the usual antibiotics. It is good to know for sure if your child has strep or just a sore throat. If the culture is positive for strep, antibiotics will help your child will feel better faster and greatly reduce the risk of spreading the infection to those around them, including you!
  4. Do I have to go to a lab for all the other conditions treated online?
    Of the dozens of conditions we treat, strep throat is the only one we need to confirm with a lab test. Our providers can safely diagnose most common conditions for adults and children without you ever leaving your home or work. If we can’t help you, there’s no charge. 

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