A Guide to Rapid COVID Testing – Credihealth Blog


The outbreak of coronavirus at the end of 2019 affected the whole world. Its rapid spread made experts and healthcare professionals look for ways of stopping it. Since WHO declared it a pandemic, rapid COVID testing and prevention were seen as the only ways to limit the spread of the virus. Earlier governments worldwide imposed nationwide lockdown to curb the outbreak of the pandemic. Still, it could not be continued for good as it had adverse effects on the economies. In such a situation, Rapid COVID testing emerged as a savior to quickly diagnose the SARS-CoV2 virus so that it can be treated. 

Rapid PCR COVID tests effectively detect viral infection when people are most likely to be affected by the virus. Due to the severity of the disease and its lethal nature, people are curious to know if they are affected or not. They look for the sources to get tested by searching ‘rapid results COVID testing near me.’ This indicated that people are impatient to know the results as they want to prevent themselves from the anxiety of waiting. Rapid COVID tests are the best solution to cater to this need. 

What to Look for in A Rapid PCR COVID Test?

With the abundance of rapid COVID tests available, the burning question nowadays is how to select the best test for yourself? So, here are a few things you must keep in mind when going for a PCR test.

Promptness

Nobody wants to wait for days or long hours to know the test results. Simply search quick COVID test near me, and you will find many labs offering a quick result COVID testing service. Choose the one that promises results in the least time. With the advancement in testing capabilites, it is possible to produce results within a few hours. 

Accuracy

Promptness without accuracy is pointless. There is no use of a testing method that renders results within minutes but fails to guarantee accuracy. A little inaccuracy in COVID testing results can cause serious problems for you and others. Therefore, choose a rapid COVID test that responsibly offers the most promising results. 

Accessibility

The best way to get quick and reliable results is to look for same-day COVID testing near me. It will show you places with the easiest accessibility in terms of distance and testing duration. Quick results are possible when you choose a place near your locality so that the least time is spent in testing. However, other important factors must also be kept in mind. 

Convenience

Earlier, the only testing method available for people was the nasopharyngeal swab test that is inconvenient to many. Now saliva COVID tests are also offered that are not invasive and thus more convenient for people. Check your convenience with the testing instrumentation, methodology, and setting, then make the final decision regarding your test. 

Authorization

This is one of the most important factors to consider, without which all others are impractical. Ensure that the test you decide to take is authorized under the FDA. An unauthorized test result would not be acceptable for traveling, working, or providing you access to public places.  

Getting Tested

Taming the raging outbreak of the pandemic seems impossible without COVID tests offering quick and reliable results. But do you know when you need to get tested? Well, here are a few things that indicate you should go for a rapid PCR COVID test.

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, as explained by healthcare professionals, whether you are vaccinated or not, it is better to get a quick test.
  • If you had close contact with people diagnosed with coronavirus, you must take the test. 
  • If you were involved in activities with a risk of catching the virus directly or indirectly, it is better to get tested. 
  • Last but not least, if a healthcare professional suggests you take the test, you should.

After getting tested, you must observe certain precautions, including isolating yourself at home and self-quarantine until you receive a negative test report. In case the test results detect the presence of viral infection, you should immediately seek professional medical advice and follow the instructions. 

Even if you do not suspect any virus symptoms, you must take a test in the situations mentioned earlier because asymptomatic individuals are found to be potential carriers of the virus. It is crucial to identify and treat in time to limit the spread of the disease.

People who had contracted the infection but are totally fine now and have no symptoms do not need to take the test. However, if they develop symptoms, getting tested becomes crucial.

What are False-Negative Results?

Whenever you take a rapid COVID test, there lies a probability of getting false-negative results. It refers to getting negative test results despite being infected with the virus. This means the test failed to detect the virus in the sample. It can happen if you take the test too early. 

The virus usually develops and can be detected after 14 days. Therefore, it is recommended to go in isolation for 14 days as a safety measure to prevent the virus from spreading. If you get a negative test result despite having symptoms, you should take the test again after 5-7 days for more accurate results.

Also read: How can you keep your mind active during quarantine

What are Screening Programs?

Local testing or screening sites such as COVID Chicago are also helpful for frequently getting tested whenever you need them. You may find different screening sites established by the community, workplace, or schools under the directives of the FDA. They conduct screening tests for individuals whether or not those people have symptoms of the SARS-CoV2 virus. Such screening programs aim to ensure that people at their workplaces, schools, or communities are safe and do not pose a risk for others.

Types of Tests

When you search for rapid testing near me, you will find mixed results for two major types of tests. It is better to have information about both kinds before choosing any.

Diagnostic tests aim at detecting an active coronavirus infection in a person. They are conducted when a person suspects symptoms for COVID-19. The decision regarding the isolation or quarantine and further medication is taken after this test. Diagnostic tests are further divided into two types, molecular and antigen. 

The molecular test is also known as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. It detects the virus by examining the virus’s genetic material using lab techniques. A nasopharyngeal swab is used to collect a fluid sample from the nose. 

The saliva sample is also used to conduct a molecular test. The time duration needed to produce results may range from a few minutes to a few days. If the sample is sent to a distant laboratory for testing, it may take longer to get the results. Molecular tests have a high accuracy rate of virus detection, but they may sometimes miss low concentration viruses. 

Most of the diagnostic tests taken nowadays are antigen tests. This test detects the infection by proteins on the virus’s surface. The sample is collected through a nasal or throat swab that allows sample collection from deep into the nose or throat. It may take some minutes to a few hours to analyze the sample and produce results. 

The test effectively detects viruses with high concentrations of infection but may fail to detect viruses with low concentrations. Also, there is a probability of getting false-negative results. In such a situation, doctors sometimes recommend taking a PCR test to confirm the results. You can search rapid antigen test COVID near me to know about places near you to get tested.

An antibody test is conducted to check its presence in the blood in response to coronavirus. This test is antibody-centric and is not effective for diagnosing COVID-19. It only indicates whether the body has developed antibodies in response to the virus or not. It usually takes a few days up to a few weeks to develop them after getting the infection. They can stay in the blood for several weeks after the infection. 

The ideal time for taking an antibody test is a week or two after contracting the virus. The sample for the antibody test is blood taken either from the fingertip or from veins. It usually takes a few minutes to test the sample and produce results. 

Types of COVID Testing Samples

Different types of tests examine different samples for the detection of the virus. There are two common types of samples used by healthcare workers to test for the potential viral infection.

As the name indicates, swab samples are taken through a swab that resembles a Q-tip from the nose and throat. Common sample locations include Anterior Nares, Mid-turbinate, Nasopharyngeal, and Oropharyngeal. The earlier mentioned sample locations take samples from the nose, and the latter involves the collection of samples from the throat.

The saliva sample is collected without an invasive instrument or tool. The person getting tested needs to spit in a flask or test tube until the required level of the sample is reached. The sample is then tested in a laboratory for the presence of the virus.

The Final Words 

To play your due role as a responsible citizen, search for free rapid result COVID testing near me and get yourself tested even if you only have minor symptoms. Observe necessary precautions and keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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