Factors Affecting Throat Swab Specimen Collection

It is a common clinical procedure to collect respiratory mucosa surface samples with nasopharyngeal swab, which is used to evaluate whether there are respiratory virus or bacterial infections in adults and children.In the diagnosis of novel coronavirus infection, collecting nasopharyngeal swab for nucleic acid detection is an important examination method. Patients without special contraindications of nasopharyngeal swab collection can be operated. If the patient has a recent history of nasal trauma or surgery, or has a history of obvious deviation of nasal septum, or has a history of chronic nasal obstruction and severe coagulation disorder, clinicians should be cautious.

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1.All patients undergoing novel coronavirus testing should wear masks, and the collection personnel should provide appropriate personal protection as required.

2.Before collecting specimens, ask patients to take off their masks and blow their noses with paper towels in order to remove excess secretions in the nasal cavity.

3.Take the swab out of the package and tilt the patient’s head slightly backward, so that the swab can reach the nasopharynx more easily through the nasal cavity. Tell the patient to close his eyes to relieve slight discomfort during operation.

4.Gently insert the throat swab along the nasal septum until a sense of resistance indicates that the swab has reached the bottom of the nasopharynx.

5.Attention should be paid to keeping the throat swab parallel to the palate during insertion. If the swab encounters resistance when passing through the nasal passages, it is necessary to retreat the swab and try to change the angle to re-enter.

6.The insertion depth of the swab should be equal to the distance from the nostril to the opening outside the ear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the swab should be placed for several seconds after reaching the bottom of the nasopharynx so that the top of the swab can absorb secretions, and then slowly remove it while rotating the swab.

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