When Elizabeth was sick on family day and complained of a sore throat, we took her to Dr Jacoby right away to rule out strep throat. We did not want a repeat of last year's scarlet fever debacle so weren't prepared to wait. The doctor gave us a prescription for antibiotics and told us to start it if she got worse. Otherwise she suggested we wait for the swab results. Well, Elizabeth got much better so we didn't fill the prescription. Sadly, we also didn't wait for the swab results before Brendan resumed eating Elizabeth's leftovers...
By the time the doctor called to let us know the swab came back "heavy growth", Matthew had come down with a throat and ear infection and Brendan had his own raging case of strep. Three quarters of the family started antibiotics. Not that I was the only healthy one - I had an out of control asthmatic chest cough and my throat was pretty sore too, but my instant test came back negative so we concluded it was viral and carried on.
A week after Matthew finished his antibiotics, he started falling asleep in random locations and complaining about a sore throat and tummy ("Owieee"). When he started throwing up, we headed back to the doctor only to discover we were a little late - it was apparently Matthew's turn for scarlet fever. Luckily it was a mild case, but this time we not only changed toothbrushes but we replaced every single sippy cup in the house.
The pediatrician thought it was possible the instant test was a false negative and I still had my sore throat (three weeks later!) so I headed back to my doctor to get a proper swab done. This time it was positive. The moral of the story is that if we ever get an instant strep test again and it's negative, we're going to insist on an old fashioned swab too. Apparently the positives are pretty accurate but false negatives are not that unusual.