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Throat swab - research objectives: results and how to prepare


A throat swab is performed to determine the dominant microorganisms in this area. Thanks to this procedure, it is possible to determine the presence, types and number of microbes located in the study area. This allows you to make an accurate diagnosis and choose the appropriate treatment.

This study is performed in such situations:

  1. Preventive examination at employment. Usually a smear is needed if a person plans to work with food, children, patients, etc.
  2. Examination of pregnant women. This helps prevent the development and activity of bacteria that are dangerous for the baby.
  3. Examination of children who are going to go to preschool. This helps prevent outbreaks of illness in children's groups.
  4. Diagnosis before hospitalization or in preparation for surgery. In this situation, the doctor must make sure that there are no microorganisms that can aggravate the course of the postoperative period.
  5. Examination of people who have had contact with infectious patients. This will help prevent the subsequent spread of the disease.
  6. A study to accurately determine the pathogen of ENT organs. The procedure also helps to establish the sensitivity of pathogenic microorganisms to drugs.
  7. Identification of tonsillitis, diphtheria, scarlet fever, tonsillitis, sinusitis, otitis media and other pathologies.

Why do they give a smear on the flora, the doctor says:

What tests pass, what can be determined

To take a swab from the throat, a specialist asks a person to open his mouth and slightly lean his head back. Then he gently presses the tongue with a flat instrument. After that, a sterile swab conducts along the mucous membranes of the tonsils and throat.

The procedure does not cause pain, however, it can provoke discomfort. A swab touch of the throat and tonsils often provokes a gag reflex.

After collecting the mucus, the specialist places it in a nutrient medium. It prevents the death of microorganisms before performing studies that help establish their variety.

Subsequently, the particles of mucus are sent for special studies. One of the main methods is a quick antigenic blood test. This system quickly responds to particles of microbes of a certain type.

This study helps detect category A beta hemolytic streptococcus. The results of this analysis can be obtained after 5-40 minutes. As a rule, antigenic tests are highly sensitive.

Sowing involves placing particles of mucus from the throat in a special environment, which leads to the active reproduction of microbes. Thanks to this, the doctor can identify microorganisms that inhabit the mucous membrane. This allows you to identify the sensitivity of bacteria to antibacterial agents. This is especially important if standard therapy fails.

PCR analysis helps establish the types of microbes that inhabit the throat. This is done by the elements of DNA present in the mucus.

How to take a swab from the throat

How to prepare

In order for the results to be as reliable as possible, it is very important to adhere to certain recommendations. Before passing the analysis, you must:

  1. Refuse the use of mouth rinses, which include antiseptic ingredients, 2-3 days before the procedure.
  2. To exclude the use of sprays and ointments that contain antibacterial and antimicrobial substances, a few days before the procedure.
  3. Exclude the use of food or drinks 2-3 hours before the study. It is best to take an analysis on an empty stomach.
  4. On the day of the procedure, it is advisable not to brush your teeth or at least a few hours before the study not to chew gum.

After eating or using toothpaste, some of the bacterial microorganisms are washed off, which also negatively affects the result.


To evaluate the data obtained as a result of the analysis, you need to know the reasons for its implementation. Most often, the mixed microflora that is found in the smear of healthy people includes a small number of harmful microorganisms - streptococci, staphylococci, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes, vailonella, enterococci, etc.

This phenomenon is considered the norm if there are few harmful bacteria and they do not cause harm to health. Eliminate all microorganisms is not possible. Shortly after completing the course of therapy, the bacteria reappear on the mucosa.

The interpretation of the results depends on the reason for the study. Particular attention is paid to the number of microorganisms that could provoke an ailment that worries a person. If the volume of bacteria is not more than 10 in the third or fourth degree, the microflora is normal. If the indicator is more than 10 to the fifth degree, one can judge the enhanced development of opportunistic microorganisms.

How to identify streptococcus in the throat

What are the most dangerous indicators

The harmful microorganisms that can be detected when performing a throat swab include the following:

  • beta hemolytic streptococcus, included in group A,
  • diphtheria pathogen
  • fungi
  • causative agent of whooping cough.

How to distinguish herpes virus from streptococcal infection, says Dr. Komarovsky:

Features of treatment to eliminate pathogenic microflora

After determining the causative agent of the ailment, its sensitivity to antibacterial and antimicrobial agents is evaluated. The disease must be treated with the antibiotic to which the detected microorganisms are sensitive.

Any pathology of ENT organs should be treated under the guidance of an otolaryngologist. Often, inflammatory processes can be stopped by bacteriophages, which are produced in the form of a solution or spray. These include, in particular, chlorophyllipt.

Quite often, folk recipes help to cope with anaerobic bacteria. The composition of treatment fees should include such components as mint, rose hip, hawthorn. This method of therapy is considered absolutely safe. The first results are achieved in a few days. However, the total duration of therapy should be at least 3 weeks.

How not to infect others

To prevent infection of others, you must adhere to these recommendations:

  • wash your hands more often
  • use personal hygiene products and utensils,
  • disinfect the house - wipe the door handles, switches, etc.

A throat swab can be considered an informative study that helps to identify pathogenic microorganisms and determine their sensitivity to drugs. In this case, it is very important to carefully prepare for the procedure in order to obtain objective results.

Throat swab - what it is and what it detects

A throat swab is a microbiological study.used to determine the cause of inflammatory conditions of the throat, especially of a recurring nature. Its use is especially recommended in cases of suspected bacterial infection.

A swab from the throat allows you to identify pathogenic bacteria and uniquely describe their type. Thanks to this, you can choose the right antibiotic that will fight the infection. Most often in the throat you can find angiogenic streptococcus causing angina pectoris.

The throat can also be attacked by other pathogens, which include, in particular:

  • flu sticks (Haemophilus influenzae) - cause respiratory infections and even inflammation of the meninges
  • diphtheria coli (Corynbacterium diphteriae) - cause diphtheria
  • Staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus aureus) - responsible for pneumonia and other infections, for example, purulent skin infection
  • pneumococci (Streptococcus pneumoniae) - cause, in particular, inflammation of the lungs, paranasal sinuses, as well as meningitis in children

Throat swab - how to prepare

Performing a throat swab is not associated with special preparation. The study can be performed on an empty stomach. Three hours before loading the smear, you must refrain from eating and drinking. Otherwise, you can get a false negative result.

You should also not brush your teeth and use lotions for the oral cavity, as these products have an antibacterial effect and affect (like food and drinks) the result of the study.

Before the study, it is contraindicated to suck pills for sore throat or chew gum.

How to make a throat swab - study progress

To obtain a smear, a stick with a sterile cotton swab is used. A sample is taken from the back of the throat.

The research doctor asks the subject to lean his head back and open his mouth wide. When receiving a sample, it is important not to touch the tongue and cheeks.. The doctor touches the back of the throat and palatine tonsils with a swab, collects material by rubbing and rotating the swab.

After completing these works, the resulting sample is placed in a special test tube, which enters the microbiological laboratory. Bacterial growth is performed there, and then the pathogen's sensitivity to specific antibiotics is checked, which allows you to choose the right drug. The result is expected for several days, depending on the type of pathogen.

Throat swab - results

Throat swab results may be positive or negative. A negative result means there is no bacterial growth on the culture medium, i.e. there are no bacteria in the throat. Negative, i.e. positive for the test result, indicates that the bacterium is not the cause of an infection in the throat. In this case, viruses, for example, influenza and parainfluenza, adenoviruses, infectious mononucleosis virus can cause infection.

A positive result of a throat swab is interpreted as the presence of a putative bacterium in the oral cavity.

Sometimes it comes to receiving a false negative result, that is, they do not detect the pathogen from the throat, despite the fact that it is present there.

This situation occurs when:

  • the subject took antibiotics shortly before the test or three hours before loading the smear, or ate, drank, brushed his teeth or used mouth rinses
  • Incorrect smear loading method was used or cultivation conditions were incorrectly selected, for example, growing period too short, poor base for dilution

In the case of smear contamination, a false-positive result can result - it will show the presence of bacteria in the oral cavity, despite their absence.

A throat swab in a child - a modern diagnosis of streptococcus

A throat swab in a child is a modern diagnostic method in pediatric surgeries. This is a simple test that allows you to say whether the cause of the disease is a bacterial infection caused by a type A streptococcus strain.

A pediatrician using a special spatula, which enters the oral cavity, rubs the tonsils. The result is obtained in a few seconds.