A Gram stain is a type of test that helps tell whether bacteria causing an infection are Gram-positive or Gram-negative. This can help a doctor choose the best treatment for an infection.
The Gram stain is done by putting a special dye on the bacterial cells. Gram-positive bacteria retain the dye and turn a different colour than Gram-negative bacteria do. Sometimes more testing is done after the Gram stain to identify the specific kind of bacteria and the antibiotics that can kill them.
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & R. Steven Tharratt, MD, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine