Throat swab culture

Throat Swab Culture - An Overview

A throat swab culture is a medical procedure used to obtain a sample of the bacteria, viruses, and other organisms that are present in the throat. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis so a laboratory technician or doctor can see what, if any, pathogens are present in the throat.

What is a Throat Swab Culture?

A throat swab culture is a procedure during which a sample of the secretions and cells from the throat is collected by a healthcare professional. The sample collected is then sent to a laboratory to be examined and analyzed under a microscope. If a pathogenic microorganism is present, the laboratory technician or doctor can determine the type and the amount present in the sample. It is also possible to identify which antibiotics would be most effective in treating the infection.

Preparation For a Throat Swab Culture

In most cases, no special preparations are required prior to a throat swab culture. Generally speaking, the only instructions a patient may receive are to avoid eating or drinking two hours prior to the procedure, and to avoid gargling or brushing their teeth if possible.

Procedure for a Throat Swab Culture

To collect the sample, a healthcare professional will use a sterile swab, which they will insert briefly into the throat. They will then gently rub the back of the throat and tonsils using this swab. Once the sample has been taken, the swab may be stored in a sample collection tube, or stored in a special medium in order to preserve and protect the sample until it is sent to the lab.

Types of Throat Swab Cultures

The two main types of throat swab cultures are rapid antigen testing and culture-based testing. Rapid antigen testing detects outer membrane proteins produced by certain bacteria, and gives results within an hour of the sample being taken. Culture-based testing is the more traditional way of testing, which requires a special chemical broth to be added to the sample to allow the bacteria to grow and be identified.

Risks of a Throat Swab Culture

A throat swab culture is a safe and effective procedure, and it is very unlikely for any complications or adverse reactions to occur during or after the procedure. However, the swab may cause slight discomfort and some gagging or lightheadedness, similar to the feeling of having something stuck in one’s throat.

Why is a Throat Swab Culture Performed?

A throat swab culture is performed to diagnose bacterial or viral infections, such as strep throat, meningitis, and influenza. It can also be performed to diagnose other illnesses, such as whooping cough or mononucleosis, and can detect the presence of antibiotics in the body.

When is a Throat Swab Culture Performed?

A throat swab culture is usually performed when a doctor suspects the patient is suffering from a bacterial or viral infection. It is also recommended by some doctors when a patient is suffering from a sore throat, fever, or other cold-like symptoms.