How to do a throat culture?

May 10, 2010

A throat culture, as the name suggests, is a test that is conducted in order to find any bacterial infection or virus in the throat by using a sample of the fluid from the throat. The word culture is used in this test because the sample is allowed to grow in a favorable environment after it has been collected by swabbing in the throat. A bacterial or fungal infection is likely to grow under such conditions. The sample is then tested after a period has elapsed to check for the growth of any cultures. The existence of such cultures is regarded as a positive diagnosis whereas an absence of cultures is a negative diagnosis for throat cultures.

A throat culture is ordered when a person is suffering from symptoms that may be associated with a bacterial infection in the throat rather than normal influenza or flu. These symptoms include the basic ones like a sore throat, fever, and headache. There are more telltale symptoms like redness in the throat and the appearance of white particles in the mucus that s expelled during coughing. There is a rapid test that can be used to diagnose an active infection in the throat. This test is extremely accurate when it comes to a positive diagnosis of the condition. However, a negative diagnosis for the rapid test does not mean that the person is not infected with strep throat. A negative test is always to be followed by a full throat culture test.

If one exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned above without any considerable improvement in the condition over a period of more than 4 days, one should visit the doctor for a consultation. The doctor will then physically examine the throat. Any redness that is detected along with symptoms explained by the patient will make the doctor go in for a throat culture test to confirm or rule out a streptococcal infection in the throat. A cotton swab is used to collect a sample of the mucous like fluid in the throat which is then sent to a laboratory for analysis as described above. There is no preparation required for a throat culture. The only thing that needs to be ensured is that you do not consume any colored liquids for about two hours before the test as these might still be present in the throat, affecting the quality of the sample.

Submitted by M T on May 10, 2010 at 01:56

Read more questions in Cultures