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What Are the Different Types of COVID-19 Testing?

    It has been a couple of years since Covid-19 changed the landscape of the healthcare industry as well as the attitude we have towards the illness and its symptoms. At this point, we may confidently say that most nations all over the world are now equipped with the right tools and knowledge to combat the virus.

    There’s probably a covid testing center near you that are readily available to help you with your needs as we speak. Having said that, the varying covid-19 tests that healthcare practitioners like Dr. MobiCare utilizes have helped us tremendously in detecting and combating this dreaded virus. 

    It’s quite important to get to know them to better guide ourselves on which method to utilize if ever we suspect that we may have been infected. Read on!

    When Should You Get Yourself Tested?

    First of all, one should know when it’s necessary to get tested before you actually need to check which Covid-19 test you’d need to undergo. So, what are the common symptoms of Covid-19? Here are a few:

    • Fever
    • Chills
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Fatigue
    • Body or muscle aches
    • Headache
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Runny or congested nose
    • Vomiting or nausea
    • Diarrhea

    The virus evolves and we’ve encountered multiple strains in the past couple of years and that has resulted in symptoms also changing not just with what’s commonly manifesting but with its severity. But, these are the most common symptoms across all strains of the virus. 

    Based on the guidelines by CDC you need to get yourself tested for Covid if:

    • You have the aforementioned symptoms above.
    • You were exposed to Covid-19 but wait at least 5 days before getting tested.
    • If you are in a high-risk setting.
    • You may also consider getting yourself tested if you are to have contact with high-risk individuals meaning people who may contract severe Covid once exposed to the virus. 

    Now, on to the tests. 

    The Primary COVID-19 Tests Utilized Today

    Viral Tests

    NAATs like PCR-based tests: A NAATs test or what we call Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests like PCR or polymerase chain reaction tests that are usually performed in a laboratory is one of the main tests initiated for those who are suspected that are infected with Covid-19.

    PCR testing is one of the most reliable and accurate ways to find out if an individual is indeed infected with the virus. This kind of test will detect viral genetic material in someone either exhibiting symptoms or not to determine a precise result. 

    That’s viral genetic material that is found in your body for up to 90 days. That’s why while PCR tests are accurate one should not have another until the next 90 days if you’ve tested positive. 

    Antigen tests: This rapid test will return a result in only 15 to 30 minutes that’s why it’s so useful. Antigen tests are utilized when there’s a large number of people that needs to be screened and fast. However, rapid tests are not that accurate, especially with people that do not show any symptoms at all. A negative result does not mean that one may not be infected that’s why another rapid test should be performed after 48 hours. 

    Rapid tests are usually what’s utilized after a PCR test results positive so the person in concern may leave isolation after 5 to 10 full days. 

    Antibody test (Serology test/Blood test): As the name implies, an antibody test is used to detect if someone may have been infected by Covid-19 in the past. That also means that this kind of test cannot be used to determine if an individual is currently infected. This kind of test is useful to ascertain immune response from the virus (past infection) or vaccine. 

    Are at home tests available? 

    Yes, you may perform a self-test or at home test if you want and it’s more convenient for you, your family, or group. At home tests are usually antigen or rapid tests and may be easily conducted by non-healthcare practitioners. 

    What Happens if You Test Positive?

    So, in some instances that you indeed turn in a positive result, what should you do? Here are some of CDC’s latest guidelines as per writing. (Take note that these guidelines get updated from time to time)

    • If you test positive for Covid with or without symptoms then you’re going to have to isolate for 5 full days. 
    • After 5 full days, you may get an antigen test and confirm if you’re already Covid negative before you may leave your isolation. 
      • If you do test negative after 5 full days then you may stop isolating but please do still wear a tight fitting mask for a total of 10 full days.
      • If you still test positive then please continue isolating for 10 full days. 
    • If you test negative but exhibit symptoms after a few days then consider getting tested once more.
    • If you test positive and asymptomatic but exhibit symptoms later on then your first day of isolation starts over. 

    Final Thoughts

    It’s important to note that because we’ve been dealing with a virus then guidelines change from time to time and it’s vital that we always keep ourselves updated to not endanger ourselves or our loved ones as we get over the pandemic.

    But these Covid-19 tests have always been constant, effective, and accurate, so taking the time to get to know them would surely help. Suspect that you may have been infected? Get yourself tested ASAP! There are at home tests that you may take advantage of and packages for your family or group for utmost convenience. Be in the know and always stay safe.