Coronavirus has been one of the most disruptive viruses to appear in recent history. We’re slowly getting a grip on the entire situation as vaccines are being rolled out en masse. With that in mind, COVID-19 tests are still an essential part of the equation.
Today we’ll share 6 facts about COVID-19 tests that you probably weren’t aware of. Knowing these facts is important if you want to optimize your virus prevention measures.
Not All Tests Are the Same
One of the first facts about COVID-19 tests is that not all of them are the same. In fact, there are two main categories of COVID-19 tests — diagnostic tests and antibody tests.
- Diagnostic test - This form of COVID-19 testing tells you if there’s a presence of a live COVID-19 virus in your organism. Diagnostic tests come in different formats and can show different results depending on their sensitivity. Some tests, like swab tests that are being done right now, will return a positive result only if there is a large amount of virus present at the time of testing.
- Antibody test - Antibody testing offers a different set of information. An antibody test won’t tell you if you are currently infected with COVID-19, but it will tell you if you were infected at some point. This form of testing is looking for the presence of antibodies in your organism, which is created as your immune system starts combating the virus.
Knowing this difference between COVID-19 tests can save you both time and money. Medical staff from the United Spine and Ortho argue that getting the right test, at the right time is essential if you want to be sure about your current status. If you’re in a profession that sees you working outside for long periods of time, you should try and get tested more often.
Timing Is Crucial
Simply getting a diagnostic test isn’t a surefire way to tell whether you’ve been exposed to the COVID-19 virus. You could find yourself in a situation where you’ve just received a negative test result, but you develop first symptoms just a few days later.
The reason why this happens is due to timing. COVID-19 takes time to spread and becomes visible to diagnostic tests. On top of that, the sensitivity of the test matters as well.
Not Everyone Needs to Be Tested
Seeing a negative result on a COVID-19 test will put your mind at ease. However, not everyone needs to be tested. If you’re isolating, have no symptoms, and haven’t been in touch with known COVID-19 carriers, there is likely no reason for you to get tested. Getting a test done in a medical facility exposes you to an unnecessary risk of infection.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that are common for coronavirus, if you feel short of breath and have trouble breathing, definitely go get yourself tested.
Where to Get Tested?
Unfortunately, there are people out there who are looking to exploit the pandemic for financial gain. There are reports of fake tests being sold to people by unknown parties, while we’ve also seen entire fake COVID-19 testing checkpoints appear in several cities across the country.
Because of that, it’s essential that you do your homework and find a certified medical facility in your area that does COVID-19 testing. Be vigilant.
As time goes by, we’re seeing more and more tools becoming available as far as testing goes. Up until recently, there were no suitable at-home test kits that would give you useful results. That is no longer the case.
Per CDC’s recommendations, there are at-home test kits you can get that will give you an accurate picture of whether you’re exposed to the virus or not. Make sure to consult CDC before for a list of approved test kits.
Complacency and Negative Results
Getting a viral test and receiving a negative result tends to make people complacent. Remember that your negative result means that there was no virus present in your organism at the time of testing. In other words, don’t drop your guard and make sure that you’re still following all of the appropriate measures.
The good news is that COVID-19 testing methods are evolving as we’re learning more and more about this virus. Soon we might have quick tests that will get us results in a matter of minutes. Until then, make sure to follow all of the safety precautions and practice social distancing. COVID-19 pandemic is slowly leveling off, but we’re not in the N zone just yet.