Everyone hates that dreaded feeling of anxiety when you can’t stop coughing or when you suddenly fall sick and the fever isn’t subsiding at all, everyone has that thought, “maybe I have contracted the Covid-19, what should I do? How should I get tested, where should I go?” Don’t fret all your questions will be answered.
Who should get tested (According to WHO)
• People who have symptoms of COVID-19
• People who have had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) with someone with confirmed COVID-19.
• People who have been asked or referred to get testing by their healthcare provider, state health department.
Symptoms of COVID-19 (Courtesy WHO)
The virus can cause a range of symptoms:-
• Ranging from mild illness to pneumonia.
• Symptoms of the disease are fever, cough, sore throat, and headaches.
• In severe cases difficulty in breathing and deaths can occur.
How to get tested for COVID-19:
Firstly there are two kinds of tests available for COVID-19: viral tests and antibody tests.
• A viral test tells you if you have a current infection.
• An antibody test might tell you if you had any past infection.
In case you feel your symptoms suggest you have coronavirus, your healthcare provider can get in touch with CDC or the local healthcare departments for testing instructions.
There are specific labs set up for conducting coronavirus tests, so you may be directed to one of these labs.
There are different types of coronavirus tests that can be done:
• Swab Test – In this case, a special swab is used to take a sample from your nose or throat
• Nasal aspirate – In this case, a saline solution will be injected into your nose and, then a sample is taken with a light suction
• Tracheal aspirate – In this case, a thin tube with a torch, also known as a bronchoscope, is put into your mouth to reach your lungs from where a sample is collected.
• Sputum Test – Sputum is thick mucus that gets accumulated in the lungs and comes out with a cough. During this test, you’re required to cough up sputum in a special cup, or a swab is used to take a sample from your nose.
• Blood test – In this case, a blood sample is taken from a vein in the arm.
Rapid diagnostic tests based on antigen detection:
A rapid test has also been started for the COVID-19, which involves taking samples from the nose, throat, and lungs. Rapid diagnostic test (RDT) of a sample of the respiratory tract of a person helps to detect the viral proteins (antigens) related to the COVID-19 virus. This ensures a speedy and accurate diagnosis and its usage is CDC-approved.
Rapid diagnostic tests based on host antibody detection
This test detects the presence of antibodies in the blood of COVID-19 infected people. The strength of antibody response depends on several factors like age, medications, infections, and severity of disease, etc.
Before the test, the concerned health professionals may request you to wear a mask during the test. In case there are any other steps that need to be taken, the healthcare professional can communicate that to you.
When to seek medical care?
In case of minor symptoms such as mild fever or cough, there is no need to visit your doctor. Monitor your symptoms, self-isolate, and stay at home. If you are living in any of the COVID-19 hotspot areas, then do not ignore the symptoms of fever if it exists beyond three days. Seek medical help immediately. In any case, always wear a mask while stepping outside or visiting a doctor. Keep a distance of 6 feet from other people and do not touch surfaces with your hands. Seek medical help if you have difficulty breathing or pain and pressure in the chest.
What are the risks associated while testing for Coronavirus?
During the test, you may feel a gagging sensation when the swab will be inserted in your nose and throat. The nasal aspirate may especially seem a bit uncomfortable. However, all of these effects are temporary and will go away shortly after the test. In some cases of tracheal aspirate, there may be bleeding or infection. In the case of the blood test, no risks are observed. There may be a slight swell and pain in the area where the needle was inserted, however it goes away pretty soon.
We hope you got a clear idea as to what are the different types of tests, what are the risks involved, and how you can identify symptoms of Covid-19. We hope you are safe. In the next blog post, we will be following up on what to do if the test comes positive.