swab test, also known as a smear test or skin culture, is a way to collect biological samples of cells from the patient's skin.
Your doctor will order a skin culture to detect bacteria, viruses, or fungi that may be causing problems with your skin or nails.

For example, you might have:
·        a rash that seems to be infected
·        an open sore that isn’t healing properly
·        a fungal infection

Some conditions that may require a skin culture include:
·        impetigo, a common skin infection that’s caused by strep or staph bacteria
·        athlete’s foot
·        diabetic foot ulcers
·        herpes

Your doctor will explain the purpose of the test before taking a sample. Be sure to ask any questions at that time.
A skin culture poses no risks. Your doctor will usually collect the sample with a sterile cotton swab. If you have an infection in your fingernails or toenails, they may clip a sample of your nails. Then they will send the sample to a laboratory for analysis.
A skin culture is a quick, simple process that can be done in a hospital or at your doctor’s office.
If your doctor is sampling an open wound or ulcer, they will take a sterile cotton swab and gently run it over the affected area. If you have an abscess or a blister, your doctor may decide to lance, or cut it. This will allow them to gather a sample of the pus or fluid inside. Your samples will be packaged and sent to a laboratory, where the majority of the work is done. There, technicians will run tests to learn if any bacteria, fungi, or virus may be causing your symptoms. Your results should be ready within a few days or up to 2 weeks.