What is a Gram stain test?
A Gram stain is a test that looks for bacteria in areas where an infection is suspected, such as the throat, lungs, genitals, or skin wounds. Gram stains may also be used to detect germs in bodily fluids such as blood or urine.
Bacterial infections are classified into two types: Gram-positive and Gram-negative. The bacteria are classified depending on how they react to the Gram stain. Gram stains are purple in hue. As the stain reacts with bacteria in a sample, the bacteria either remain purple or change pink or red. Gram-positive bacteria are those that remain purple. Gram-negative bacteria glow pink or crimson when exposed to light. Several sorts of illnesses are caused by the two categories:
Understanding whether your bacterium is Gram-positive or Gram-negative might help your doctor determine what sort of illness you have and which drugs will be most helpful in treating it.
What is the use of the gram stain test?
A Gram stain is commonly used to determine whether you have a bacterial infection. If you do, the test will determine whether you have a Gram-positive or Gram-negative infection.
Fungal infections can also be diagnosed using a Gram stain.
What is the need for a gram stain?
If you experience signs of a bacterial infection, you may require this test. Many bacterial infections are characterised by pain, fever, and exhaustion. Additional symptoms will vary depending on the type of infection and where it is situated in the body.
What takes place during a Gram stain?
Depending on the type of illness, your healthcare professional will need to collect a sample from the location of the suspected infection or from certain bodily fluids. The following are the most frequent Gram stain tests.
A special swab will be used by a physician to take a sample from the location of your wound.
A blood test
A provider will draw blood from a vein in your arm.
As directed by your health care physician, you will submit a sterile urine sample in a cup.
Culture of the Throat
Your doctor will place a special swab into your mouth to collect a sample from the back side of the throat and tonsils.
Culture of sputum
Sputum is a viscous mucus produced by the lungs that is coughed up. It is not the same as spit or saliva. Your doctor may ask you to cough up phlegm into a particular cup, or he or she may collect a sample from your nose using a special swab.
How to prepare for the test?
No Special preparations are required for a Gram stain test.
Are there any risks to the test?
There is no risk associated while having a swab, sputum, or urine test.
Understanding the results
Your sample will be put on a slide and stained with Gram. The slide will be examined under a microscope by a laboratory specialist. If no bacteria were discovered, it is likely that you do not have a bacterial infection or that there were insufficient germs in the sample.
If bacteria is discovered, it will have particular characteristics that may give vital information about your infection:
- If the bacterium is purple, you most certainly have a Gram-positive infection.
- If the bacterium is pink or red in colour, you most likely have a Gram-negative infection.
The shape of the bacteria in the sample will also be included in your results. The majority of bacteria are spherical (known as cocci) or rod-shaped (known as bacilli). The shape might reveal more about the sort of illness you have.
Although your results may not reveal the specific type of bacteria in the sample, they can assist your provider in determining what is causing your sickness and how to best treat it. Further tests, such as a bacterium culture, may be required to confirm the kind of bacteria.
Gram stain findings might also reveal if you have a fungal infection. The results may reveal if you have a yeast or mould infection. However, further tests may be required to determine which type of fungal infection you have.
If you have any concerns about your results, speak with your doctor.