Community Health Network

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Collection of stool specimen

General instructions

  2. Do not use toilet paper to collect stool specimen (toilet paper may contain substances which are inhibitory for some fecal specimens).
  3. Do not contaminate specimen with urine.
  4. Do not retrieve fecal specimen from toilet bowl.
  5. Barium, antacids, kaolin, bismuth compounds and mineral oil interfere with ova & parasite specimens. Do not take any of these within 48 hours of collecting specimen.
  6. Each specimen for testing of ova and parasites must be collected 24 hours apart.
  7. The collection tubes contain a liquid that is poisonous. Please keep them out of the reach of children. ANTIDOTE IF SWALLOWED: Dilute by drinking 2-4 glasses of water. Immediately contact an emergency facility, poison control center or a physician. Save the vial for label information needed for determining appropriate treatment.

Collecting specimen

  1. The stool should be passed into a clean, DRY container. A bedpan, clean margarine tub, clean milk carton with the top cut off or a large plastic bag put into a waste basket may be used. Please do not contaminate with urine.
  2. BABIES IN DIAPERS: A formed stool may be taken from the diaper and placed in the containers as described below. If the child has diarrhea, line the diaper with plastic wrap or use plastic pants (that are clean and dry). Watch the child carefully so you will know when his/her bowels have moved. Immediately remove the diaper and plastic wrap or plastic pants and fill each container as described below. Never leave plastic wrap against a child’s skin for more than 30 minutes at a time. NEVER WRING OUT A DIAPER TO COLLECT A SPECIMEN. A specimen brought to the lab in a diaper will not be accepted.

Filling specimen containers

  1. Open the tube and using the collection spoon built into the lid of the tube place small scoopfuls of stool from areas which appear bloody, slimy or watery into the tube until the contents rise to the red line. If the stool is formed (hard), please try to sample small amounts from each end and the middle.
  2. Mix the contents of the tube with the spoon, twist the cap tightly closed and shake the tube vigorously until the contents are well mixed.
  3. Wash hands thoroughly.
  4. Fill in the information on the vial label: 1) Patient name, 2) date and time specimen was collected, 3) specimen number if more than one specimen was collected (for example, No.1, No. 2, No. 3), and 4) check the appropriate box for specimen description.
  5. Make sure the vial(s) are closed tightly. Keep the specimens at room temperature and take them to the lab as soon as possible.

Clostridium difficile

For the white plastic container with white lid, please note the following: If stool is liquid or watery, an amount approximately equal to ½ ounce (15 mL or 3 Tbsp.) should be placed in the container. If stool is formed, an amount approximately equal to the size of a small walnut should be placed in the container. Specimens in the white containers should be refrigerated until brought to the lab, again as soon as possible.

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