Nasopharyngeal Swab

  1. Enter a flexible swab several centimeters with a slow, steady motion along the floor of the nose (straight back, not up the nose) until the posterior nasopharynx has been reached (distance from nostrils to external opening of ear).
  2. Place finger on the tip of the patient’s nose and depress slightly.
  3. Once resistance is met (the swab should pass into the pharynx relatively easily), rotate the swab several times and withdraw the swab.
  4. Break off top of swab (it will snap off).
  5. Place in transport medium.
  6. Ensure the specimen is labeled and transport to the laboratory.

Denver Health Infectious Disease Laboratory
Adapted from BC CDC PHSA Lab Manual
Updated 3/25/2020

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