1. Why would my doctor collect more than one sample?
This may be done to increase the chance of detecting the pathogen or to detect multiple pathogens. It may involve multiple swabs, a combination of swabs, fluid aspiration, and/or tissue biopsy, or distinct aerobic and anaerobic sample collection.
2. Once I have been treated, can my infection return?
Most infections will resolve, but if there is still damaged tissue present or a break in the skin’s protection, then there is the potential for another infection to occur. In some cases, it may take extended treatment and/or a change in medication to resolve an infection.
4. I had a boil on my arm and the doctor did not do a culture of the material when he drained it. Why not?
In a healthy person, the clinical presentation may give the doctor sufficient information to treat the infection. With an abscess or boil, the most important treatment is incision and drainage, and antibiotics may not be required. However, if your wound does not heal or it worsens after drainage, you may have an infection with an organism that requires antibiotic therapy tailored to the specific pathogen. In this case, a wound culture should be done to identify the pathogen and perform susceptibility testing to predict the best possible antibiotic for clinical response.
This article was last reviewed on April 27, 2012. | This article was last modified on October 8, 2014.
The review date indicates when the article was last reviewed from beginning to end to ensure that it reflects the most current science. A review may not require any modifications to the article, so the two dates may not always agree.
The modified date indicates that one or more changes were made to the article. Such changes may or may not result from a full review of the article, so the two dates may not always agree.