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Throat swab culture

Throat swab culture

A throat swab culture is a laboratory test that is done to identify germs that may cause infection in the throat. It is most often use to diagnose strep throat.

How the Test is Performed

You will be ask to tilt your head back and open your mouth wide. Your health care provider will rub a sterile cotton swab along the back of your throat near your tonsils. You will need to resist gagging and closing your mouth while the swab touches this area.

Your provider may need to scrape the back of your throat with the swab several times. This helps improve the chances of detecting bacteria.

How to Prepare for the Test

DO NOT use antiseptic mouthwash before this test.

How the Test will Feel

Your throat may be sore when this test is done. You may feel like gagging when the back of your throat is touch with the swab, but the test only lasts a few seconds.

Why the Test is Performe

This test is done when a throat infection is suspecte, particularly strep throat. A throat culture can also help your provider determine which antibiotic will work best for you.

Normal Results

A normal or negative result means no bacteria or other germs that may cause a sore throat were found.

What Abnormal Results Mean

An abnormal or positive result means bacteria or other germs that can cause a sore throat were seen on the throat swab.

Risks

This test is safe and easy to tolerate. In very few people, the sensation of gagging may lead to an urge to vomit or cough.

Alternative Names

A throat culture and sensitivity; Culture – throat