Throat culture and sensitivity; Culture - throat
A throat swab culture is a laboratory test done to isolate and identify organisms that may cause infection in the throat.
You will be asked to tilt your head back and open your mouth wide. The health care provider rubs a sterile cotton swab along the back of your throat near the tonsils. You need to resist gagging and closing the mouth while the swab touches this area.
The health care provider may need to scrape the back of the throat with the swab several times. This helps improve the chances of detecting bacteria.
Do not use antiseptic mouthwashes before the test.
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.
The test is performed when a throat infection is suspected, particularly strep throat. A throat culture can also help your doctor determine which antibiotics will work best for you.
Caserta MT, Flores AR. Pharyngitis. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 54.
Bisno AL, Stevens DL. Streptococcus pyogenes. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 198.
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