Specimen Collection Throat Cultures Depress tongue gently with tongue depressor. Extend sterile swab between the tonsillar pillars and behind the uvula. Avoid touching the cheeks, tongue, uvula or lips. Sweep the swab back and forth across the posterior pharynx, tonsillar areas, and any inflamed or ulcerated areas to obtain a sample. If a rapid Strep test is ordered, collect two throat samples. Use a viral transport media for viral cultures.