If your symptoms suggest strep throat, your doctor may want to confirm this diagnosis by doing a throat culture. Strep throat is more likely if 3 or 4 of the following signs or symptoms are present:
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- White or yellow spots or coating on the throat and/or tonsils (tonsillar exudates)
- Swollen or tender lymph nodes on the neck
- Absence of coughing or sneezing
If a strep infection is suspected, your doctor may do a rapid strep test or a throat culture or both. Both of these tests can be done in a doctor's office. You may want to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each test to see which test is appropriate.
The results of these tests will determine whether antibiotic treatment is needed. These results combined with an accurate medical history will be considered in deciding whether surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) is recommended.
If the Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause mononucleosis, is suspected as a cause for the tonsillitis, a test for mononucleosis may be done.