Purple stain
Does full immersion make your tape strips hard to examine? Image ©iStock.com/BanksPhotos

One of the pleasures of having completed my dermatology certificate is that I get to peer down a microscope at cytology preps a fair amount.

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have become frustrated with Diff-Quik preps (particularly if you are using tape strips and all three solutions) as the strip becomes soggy and opaque, making it hard to examine.

A handy tip I learned from a specialist dermatologist working in the States was to just use the blue/purple stain, pop a drop onto a slide and then stick your strip over the liquid and slide. Leave this a few minutes and examine as usual.

This is quick and allows easy identification of cocci and yeast microorganisms under the microscope.

However if it’s cells you’re interested in – in, say, suspected cases of pustular disease – I’d suggest you still go through the full staining process.

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