Throat Culture

Alternative Names:Throat culture and sensitivity; Culture – throat

Definition:
A throat infection with streptococcus bacteria (called strep throat) needs to be treated with an antibiotic.Throat swab culture is a laboratory test done to isolate and identify organisms that may cause infection in the throat. It is the traditional test used for identifying streptococcus bacteria on your throat surface. Throat cultures also can identify some other bacteria that can cause sore throat.

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Throat swab culture is a laboratory test done to isolate and identify organisms that may cause infection in the throat.The test is performed when a throat infection is suspected, particularly strep throat.

How do you prepare for the test?
No preparation is necessary.Only do not use antiseptic mouthwashes before the test.

What happens when the test is performed?
Tilt your head back with your mouth wide open.A sterile cotton swab is rubbed against the back of your throat to gather a sample of mucus from near the tonsils.Resist gagging and closing the mouth while the swab touches the back of the throat near the tonsils. This takes only a second or two and makes some people feel a brief gagging or choking sensation.

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In order to improve the chances of detecting bacteria, the swab may be used to scrape the back of the throat several times. The mucus sample is then placed on a culture plate that helps any bacteria present in the mucus grow, so they can be examined and identified.

How the Test Will Feel :
Your throat may be sore at the time the test is taken. You may experience a gagging sensation when the back of your throat is touched with the swab, but the test only lasts a few seconds.

What risks are there from the test?
There are no risks.This test is safe and well-tolerated. In very few patients, the sensation of gagging may lead to an urge to vomit or cough.

Normal Results:
The presence of the usual mouth and throat bacteria is a normal finding.

What Abnormal Results Mean :
An abnormal result means bacteria or other organism is present. This is usually a sign of infection.

Must you do anything special after the test is over?
Nothing.

How long is it before the result of the test is known?
Results from a strep culture are available in two or three days.

Resources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/diagnostic-tests/throat-culture.htm
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003746.htm

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