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Sputum (say "SPYOO-tum") is a thick fluid, or mucus, made in the lungs and in the airways leading to the lungs. A sputum culture tests a sample of sputum to see if it contains germs. The sputum is placed in a container with substances that help germs grow.
A sputum culture is done to find and identify bacteria that are causing a lung infection such as pneumonia or tuberculosis. The culture can also find the best antibiotic to treat the infection. And it can check to see how treatment is working.
Don't use mouthwash before this test.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.
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Current as of: September 8, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & W. David Colby IV MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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