A throat culture refers to a test that is done to check for any bacterial infection that has affected the patient’s throat. This procedure is normally conducted by the doctor on someone who shows signs related to a sore throat and also who may show an indication of having a fever. The test is quite often ordered by the doctors when there is a Group A strep infection like the strep throat. This throat culture procedure involves the use of the tongue depressor. This is used basically to keep the patients tongue down. This is followed by the introduction of a special swab which is put into the patient’s mouth and is brushed against their throat and their tonsils. This swab is then given to the laboratory to check and if there are any signs of bacteria.
During the throat culture a number of the patients end up gagging. This occurs mainly due to the insertion of the throat depressor in the patient’s mouth which causes the gag reflex. Hence the main aim of most doctors and patients is to somehow subdue this gag reflex. One of the main steps involves getting the patient to tilt his head as far back as possible. At the same time the patient will have to breathe really deeply from his open mouth. He should also make the sound ‘Ah’ from the back of his throat. When all these steps are done in conjunction with each other it causes the uvula to lift away and in this way helps in reducing the gag effect from happening. Other ways to try and avoid the gag reflex is for the patient to pre-warn the doctor about this problem, so that the doctor can do the throat culture as fast as possible and thus could also avoid the gag reflex. Another way to avoid this problem is for the patient to practice using a tongue depressor at home. Repeatedly doing the action in front of a mirror might help overcome this problem. The patient can also try practicing how to open their mouth as wide as possible and thus in this way avoid the possibility of the doctor having to use a tongue depressor at all. This can be done by tilting one’s head as far back as possible to create a straighter path where in the doctor can see straight down the throat and also the patient should bend from the waist at the same time.
Submitted by M T on April 1, 2010 at 05:58