Medically reviewed on October 21, 2016
What is the test?
A throat infection with streptococcus bacteria (called strep throat) needs to be treated with an antibiotic. A throat culture 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.
How do I prepare for the test?
No preparation is necessary.
What happens when the test is performed?
A cotton swab is rubbed against the back of your throat to gather a sample of mucus. This takes only a second or two and makes some people feel a brief gagging or choking sensation. 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.
What risks are there from the test?
There are no risks.
Must I do anything special after the test is over?
How long is it before the result of the test is known?
Results from a strep culture are available in two or three days.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.