Is it strep throat, or just a sore throat? There could someday be an app to help you figure that out.
Researchers are developing a home scorecard that aims to prevent thousands of unnecessary trips to the doctor for that common complaint.
More than 12 million people make doctors' visits for a sore throat each year. And usually the culprit is a virus that they just have to wait out.
Many doctors will not even perform tests on a patient if they think the risk of strep throat in that patient is low enough. These trips can end up wasting both time and money.
The researchers, writing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, say they want to combine information on the symptoms that doctors look for with some computer data to tell if strep throat is circulating in your geographic region. If the bug is in your neighborhood, that increases the chances that you've caught it.
More research is needed to determine if the method would work in everyday life, and if a mobile app or a phone call to the doctor would be the best approach.
Strep is most common for those between the ages of five and fifteen. The app would deal primarily with diagnosing adults who are less likely to contract the bacteria.