A fungal culture is a test to find a fungus that can cause an infection.
Your doctor will take samples by lightly scraping your skin
with a sharp blade or the edge of a microscope slide. He or she may also take
toenail samples if the nail is infected. The sample of skin is added to a substance that promotes the growth of fungi. If no fungus grows, the culture is negative. If a fungus grows, the culture is positive. The type of fungus may be identified using a microscope or chemical tests. Sometimes other tests are done to find the right medicine for treating the infection. This is called sensitivity testing.
Fungi are slow-growing, so it can take up to 6 weeks to
identify the fungi and get results.
Why It Is Done
A fungal culture may be done to
find out the cause of cracking, scaling, peeling, or blistered skin, or to find out why
there is an area of persistent irritation (and sometimes redness) on the feet.
The presence of fungi suggests that the condition is
athlete's foot (tinea pedis).
fungi are present in the skin or nail scrapings. Other skin tests may be done
to find out the cause of the skin or nail problems.
Fungi are present, and the type of
fungus is identified.
Treatment may vary depending on the type of
What To Think About
If you have been diagnosed with
athlete's foot before and the symptoms have returned, a fungal culture will
probably not be needed. Your doctor may suggest you treat the infection with
nonprescription or prescription antifungal medicine.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerPatrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerEllen K. Roh, MD - Dermatology