With the summer winding down, students and their families are turning their attention to back-to-school preparations. College students are buying “must-have” items for their dorm rooms or apartments. Elementary, middle school, and high school students are stockpiling school supplies and buying fall and winter clothes. Without question, these preparations will give students of all ages a good head start on the school year.
Although classes and school activities are essential to a good educational experience, these settings also mean large numbers of students are together in confined spaces. In these close quarters, contagious diseases such as influenza (or the flu) and strep throat (or strep) can spread like wildfire. Sameday Health’s strep and flu testing options can help to ensure a happy, healthy, and streamlined return to the school year.
Every year, millions of Americans contract the flu and/or strep throat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (or CDC) maintains figures on both illnesses.
The CDC estimates that from October 1, 2021, to June 11, 2022, the flu was responsible for up to 13 million related conditions and 6.1 million medical center visits. During the same period, the flu resulted in 170,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths. Finally, over the past five years, the United States has seen up to 25,000 cases of invasive group A strep disease every year.
The flu is a respiratory illness triggered by an influenza virus. This contagious condition typically affects the throat and nose, and sometimes the lungs can be involved. Mild to severe illness is common, and in certain individuals, the flu can lead to death. Studies have shown that children under 18 are over twice as likely to contract a symptomatic flu case compared to 65+-aged adults.
Flu symptoms can often begin without warning. Someone who feels fine in the morning may suddenly feel “under the weather” at some point during the day. People will likely feel some (but maybe not all) of the following symptoms:
- Feverish and/or Chilled Sensation (not everyone with flu has a fever)
- Sore Throat
- Stuffy or Runny Nose
- Body or Muscle Aches
- Vomiting and Diarrhea (most commonly seen in children)
The flu is classified as a respiratory illness. Therefore, most experts believe the flu virus spreads through respiratory secretions from someone who is already infected. When the person talks, coughs, or sneezes, tiny droplets are expelled into the air. If anyone is nearby, they stand a good chance of having these droplets migrate into their mouth or nose.
Less commonly, an unlucky individual might be infected by touching an object or surface that contains the flu virus. If the person then touches their mouth or nose (or potentially their eyes), there’s a strong likelihood that they’ll become infected.
A sore throat is most often caused by a virus. However, strep throat doesn’t follow this rule. This uncomfortable throat and tonsil illness results from infection by the Group A Streptococcus (or Group A Strep) bacteria.
Although anyone can contract strep throat, it occurs more often in children than adults. Children from 5 to 15 years old are most at risk, while children under three are rarely affected. Higher-risk adults include school-aged children’s parents and other adults who consistently spend time near children.
Strep throat is typically a mild (but rather painful) infection. Patients will commonly experience the following symptoms:
- Sudden-Onset Sore Throat
- Difficult and Painful Swallowing
- Relatively High Fever
- Swollen, Red Tonsils (may also show streaks of pus or white patches)
- Small Red Spots on the Roof of the Mouth
- Swollen Lymph Nodes (in the front part of the neck)
- Less-Common: Headache, Stomach Pain, Vomiting, or Nausea (more common in children)
However, some people infected with strep have no symptoms at all. Patients with active strep symptoms are considerably more contagious than people with no symptoms.
Group A Strep bacteria can take up residence in an individual’s throat and nose. When someone infected by strep talks, sneezes, or coughs, bacteria-containing respiratory droplets are propelled through the air and into an unfortunate host. Alternatively, a person can become infected with strep if they touch an object or surface containing an infected patient’s droplets and next touch their nose or mouth.
A person can contract strep after drinking from a glass, or eating from a plate, that a person with strep has just used. Strep can occasionally be spread through improperly handled food. Finally, a strep patient can spread the illness if someone touches their strep skin sores or fluid from them.
Regardless of the transmission method, a person exposed to Group A Strep will generally become ill within two to five days. This most often occurs in the same household but also takes place in other scenarios involving close contact with a strep patient.
As with any medical condition, a timely diagnosis sets the stage for targeted treatment. For five reasons, people who think they may have flu or strep should be tested without delay.
Flu and strep symptoms are uncomfortable and often painful. After proper testing, a physician may recommend over-the-counter medications for flu symptom relief. The physician can prescribe antibiotics to relieve strep symptoms and ward off possible complications.
Timely testing and treatment greatly reduce the chances complications can occur. Left untreated, the flu can result in sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, or chronic ear infections. Unchecked strep throat can lead to ear infections, pneumonia, rheumatic fever, or toxic shock syndrome. Potentially fatal meningitis could also occur.
Flu and strep can move very quickly through crowded classrooms, hallways, and food service areas. If symptomatic students are quickly tested and treated, they are less likely to transmit their infectious condition to other students.
The flu and strep have some similar symptoms. As a result, people may find it difficult to self-determine what’s affecting them. An approved test can provide concrete answers, which enables a medical provider to recommend a targeted treatment plan.
With easily accessible testing and treatment, patients will likely see fewer complications and lower-cost outcomes. Research from Sameday Health’s rapid testing sites (and others) can lead to better overall patient care.
With the back-to-school season currently underway, thousands of students across the country are facing potential flu and strep risks. Crowded college dorms, classrooms, cafeterias, and hallways are prime transmission areas. Students who have flu or strep symptoms want (and deserve) quick testing and treatment.
Fortunately, California-based Sameday Health is ideally positioned to help. In August 2022, the company announced that flu and strep testing are now available in participating Sameday Health clinics across the country. California, New York, and Washington, D.C. are among the locations that offer these definitive tests.
Sameday Health clients concerned about a specific illness can opt for an individual test. Alternatively, they can save money by bundling flu, strep, and COVID-19 tests together for a lower price. They’ll receive conclusive test results about all three illnesses.
Sameday Health CEO and Founder Felix Huettenbach says the company’s recent infrastructure expansion will enable it to offer diagnostic services to more clients. “At Sameday Health, we’ve intentionally spent the past year bolstering our infrastructure to enable the expansion of our diagnostic testing services and further safeguard the health of our community.
“We’re proud to facilitate better health outcomes for our clients by offering services, now including strep and flu testing, that deliver peace of mind and the information they need to lead healthier, fuller lives,” he concludes.
Completing a Sameday Health flu or strep test is an easy task. First, clients visit the Sameday Health website to schedule an appointment at a participating clinic.
Sameday Health clients concerned about flu symptoms can schedule the BD Veritor Analyzer Rapid Influenza A and B test. This super-fast diagnostic test determines whether influenza A and B antigens are present or absent.
Sameday Health clients who think they have strep should schedule the QuickVue Rapid Streptococcus Type A test. This fast diagnostic test is designed to accurately determine whether a strep antigen is present. This test complies with point-of-care assessment criteria.
After a client schedules an online appointment, they visit the appropriate clinic. There, a registered medical professional uses an oropharyngeal swab to test for one or both conditions. In 30 minutes or less, clients receive test results on the easy-access client portal.
If a client tests positive for flu or strep, they can schedule an optional virtual care appointment for an additional fee. During that appointment, a Sameday Health provider can design a targeted treatment plan.
Besides flu and strep testing, Sameday Health’s multiple locations offer personalized treatments that are supremely convenient for patients. In addition to Sameday Health clinic treatment, clients can request virtual appointments or house calls.
Credentialed physicians and nurses deliver a diverse menu of services that integrate the latest technology with old-fashioned compassion. Other Sameday Health services include:
- COVID-19 Testing (RT-PCR, Rapid NAAT, and Antigen Tests)
- Monkeypox Testing
- Vitamin Enhancements via IV Drip Therapy or Injections
- Virtual Urgent Care Services
- Virtual Mental Health Therapies
- STD Twin- or Extended-Panel Tests
- Targeted Panels for Food Allergies, Inflammation, Thyroid, or Hormones
- Diabetes Panel
- General Health Screening Panel
Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sameday Health focuses on delivering convenient client-centered care. Many appointments take place in Sameday Health clinics nationwide. Other clients choose virtual appointments or at-home interactions, always with licensed medical professionals.
Regardless of the venue, Sameday Health continues its mission to provide fast, responsive healthcare that keeps clients’ needs at the forefront. Students and parents who want more details, or who want to schedule a flu or strep testing appointment, can visit the Sameday Health website.