Geisinger Medical Laboratories Microbiology Specimen Collection Instructions

COLLECTION OF DERMATOLOGIC SPECIMENS FOR FUNGAL CULTURE (NAILS, SKIN, AND SCALP [HAIR] SCRAPINGS)

A.  Collection of Nail Specimens:

  1. Swab affected toenail or fingernail, cleaning with premoistened alcohol towelette or equivalent.  Let nail air-dry.  If the nail is heavily soiled, wash with soap and water prior to cleaning with alcohol.
  2. Clip the nail back as far as possible without excessive patient discomfort.  Discard nail clippings. 
  3. Obtain the crumbling subungual debris from beneath the trimmed nail edge (on nail bed) by scraping with a 1-2 mm curette.
  4. Place the scraping into an appropriately labeled sterile container.
  5. Store and transport the specimen at room temperature (18-25°C). 

B.  Collection of Skin and Scalp Scrapings:

  1. Carefully remove a toothbrush from the individually wrapped packaging. (Toothbrushes are available from the GMC Storeroom or GML Client Services at 800-695-6491.)
  2. Vigorously rub the toothbrush over the skin or scalp area to be sampled.  For scalp areas, both hair and skin will adhere to the toothbrush.
  3. Place patient identification label on the toothbrush.
  4. Place the inoculated  toothbrush back into the original packaging.  Place the packaged toothbrush into a transport bag.
  5. Store and transport the specimen at room temperature (18-25°C). 

Revised:  3/4/2011

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