Dedicated to protecting the health and safety
of Nebraskans through diagnostic laboratory
science, technology, and education.
  • Provide the patient with a sterile specimen container and instruct not to touch inside.
  • Instruct the patient to take three to four slow deep breaths and cough forcefully upon exhalation.
  • Expectorate directly into the specimen container.
  • The specimen should be examined to make sure it contains at least 1ml of thick mucous. Saliva is not an adequate specimen. An early morning specimen is preferred.
  • Close the lid of the container.
  • Send specimen to laboratory at ambient temperature. Refrigerate if a delay of >1 hour is anticipated; freeze for molecular tests.

If you have questions about proper specimen collection, please call

NPHL Client Services at 402-559-2440 or toll free at 1-866-290-1406.