Skip to Content

Throat Culture

What is it?

A throat culture is a test to find out if bacteria (bak-teer-e-uh) are causing your sore throat. A sore throat may be a caused by a bacterial or a viral (vi-rull) infection. It also may be caused by air pollution, breathing toxic fumes, or swallowing something too hot.

Why do I need it?

Caregivers need to know what is causing your sore throat in order to treat it. Your caregiver will explain the test and why you need it.

How do I get ready for the test?

Caregivers will tell you when to have your throat culture done. Some medicines and mouthwashes may interfere with this test. Ask your caregiver if you should wait to take your medicine or use mouthwash until after the test.

How is the specimen collected?

The back wall of your throat is touched with a sterile cotton swab to get the specimen. A wooden tongue blade is used to keep your tongue out of the way. Caregivers may take 2 swabs. The swabs are sent to the laboratory.

What do I do after the test?

Call your health caregiver to get the results your test. Your health caregiver will explain what your test results mean for you. Follow the instructions of your health caregiver.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your lab tests. You can then discuss the results with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.