Newest Coronavirus Information
THURSDAY, Feb. 3, 2022
These hard-to-find COVID-19 residence exams have gotten extra accessible, notably with the U.S. authorities providing 4 free exams for each family.
To date, roughly 60 million American households have ordered the free exams, in line with the White Home. However many of us nonetheless have a whole lot of primary questions on them, mentioned Krist Azizian, chief pharmacy officer for Keck Medication of the College of Southern California.
These speedy at-home exams are known as antigen exams, he mentioned.
“Antigen exams detect a excessive quantity of viral load, and the outcomes are typically accessible inside quarter-hour,” Azizian mentioned in a college information launch.
Nonetheless, you should not take a look at your self instantly after you assume you’ve got been uncovered to COVID, Azizian mentioned.
“COVID-19 has an incubation interval of 5 to seven days, so it’s best to get examined at the least 5 days after publicity or upon the onset of signs,” he mentioned.
“The most important testing mistake I see is individuals taking exams too quickly earlier than the viral load will be detected,” Azizian continued. “Testing too quickly can waste at-home exams, trigger individuals to needlessly spend cash on lab exams and provides them a false sense of assurance ought to they take a look at destructive.”
In the event you’re self-testing, a constructive consequence from an antigen take a look at means you’ve got most likely acquired COVID, whereas a destructive consequence means you both haven’t got COVID or you do not have sufficient virus in your nostril for the take a look at to detect.
Your physician’s workplace can also carry out an antigen take a look at on you, however they’re “not essentially” extra correct than a take a look at you’d carry out on your self at residence, Azizian mentioned.
“Antigen exams carried out at a clinic or lab are very possible corresponding to exams bought over-the-counter,” Azizian mentioned. “The one purpose lab testing could also be extra correct is as a result of some individuals could use the at-home exams incorrectly or could misread the outcomes.”
Docs can supply one other sort of COVID take a look at known as the PCR test. That is the “gold customary” for accuracy however doesn’t return speedy outcomes and isn’t accessible for residence use.
PCR exams search for the precise genetic materials of COVID, to allow them to detect decrease ranges of virus than an antigen take a look at and are much less prone to produce inaccurate outcomes, Azizian mentioned. A lab should run the take a look at, and it could actually take anyplace from a number of hours to a number of days to get the outcomes.
How are you going to get your free at-home exams?
You possibly can order your 4 free speedy antigen exams from COVIDtests.gov, Azizian mentioned.
“In case your family requires greater than 4 exams, you could be eligible to be absolutely reimbursed for exams you buy or get them freed from cost via an insurance coverage reimbursement program launched Jan. 15,” Azizian mentioned. “You possibly can contact your medical health insurance supplier for additional info.”
When shopping for a take a look at your self, search for one which’s approved by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration, Azizian mentioned.
Households running quick on exams ought to know they can not be reused, he added.
“These exams are for single utility solely,” Azizian mentioned. “Individuals are taking an incredible danger of exposing others through the use of one swab for a number of relations. If one has COVID-19 and the others do not, sharing a swab nearly ensures everybody will get it.”
Which take a look at is best for you?
Speedy antigen exams are a very good possibility for individuals who have developed signs of COVID, Azizian mentioned.
“On the whole, viral load correlates to signs. In case you are asymptomatic, your viral load could also be too low to be detected by an antigen take a look at,” Azizian mentioned.
If you do not have signs however you are apprehensive you could have COVID, it’s best to speak together with your physician about getting a PCR take a look at. PCR exams additionally can be utilized as a follow-up to an antigen take a look at, to be sure you actually do have COVID, Azizian added.
“In the event you take a look at destructive on an antigen take a look at, for better reassurance, observe up with one other antigen take a look at at the least 24 hours later or a PCR take a look at,” Azizian mentioned.
“Whereas antigen exams are pretty correct in detecting constructive outcomes, should you take a look at constructive on an antigen take a look at, it is best to observe up with a PCR take a look at,” he suggested. “Nonetheless, it’s best to quarantine upon receiving a constructive consequence from any take a look at.”
The U.S. Meals and Drug Administration has a list of approved at-home COVID tests.
SOURCE: Keck Medication of College of Southern California, information launch, Jan. 31, 2022
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