Ace the Test
Ever since COVID became a part of our lives, methods of detection and tests for the virus have evolved and grown more accurate. Since vaccinations have become readily available, there are a lot fewer COVID patients ending up in hospitals, which of course, is much less taxing on the world’s medical systems. Although frontline healthcare workers have gained some respite as vaccination rates have risen, it is still essential to be aware of what signs you should look for and when it is a good idea to get a test to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on our medical professionals. You can either get a lateral flow rapid test or a PCR test.
Before we delve into the different kinds of tests and how to go about getting them, let’s take a look at some basic COVID precautionary information. Firstly, of course, you should wear your mask at all times when out in public. While some parts of the world did begin to ease up on mask regulations as vaccination rates increased, the emergence of the new Omicron variant means that taking all precautions should be at the top of your list of things to do once more. Government-mandated or not. Next, it is essential that you avoid touching surfaces whenever possible and sanitize or wash your hands after touching anything in a public space. It’s important to wash your hands properly and not forget to focus on your thumbs to help slow the spread of the virus. Avoiding crowded indoor spaces whenever you can is a good idea, although it is probably impossible to avoid them altogether. When traveling on any kind of public transport, ensure that there is a flow of fresh air from open windows. Although it is coming up on the festive season, when you would usually hug many friends and family members, it is important to remember that social distancing helps to slow the spread of the virus as well. Lastly, and most importantly, if you have not been vaccinated already, please head down to your nearest vaccination station and get your jab immediately. Herd immunity is the best chance that the world has of getting “back to normal” as soon as possible.
We know that these last few years have been stressful in many ways and that pandemic fatigue is very real. If we all keep on keeping on together, and we all look out for ourselves and each other, we will beat the virus and come out stronger on the other side of this pandemic. We can do it!
Now, let’s take a look at the two different types of COVID tests and when you should get one.
If you have any of the following three COVID symptoms, even if you feel that they are mild or just beginning, it is vital that you get yourself a Polymerase Chain Reaction test as soon as possible.
- A higher than normal temperature. Account for warm weather or exercise when taking your temperature.
- Continuous cough that you have never had before
- Any lack of smell or taste, or any change in smell or taste.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should begin self-isolating straight away, do not wait for the results of your test as you may already be carrying the virus and not know it. Do not leave your home or interact with any people except in the case of getting tested or seeking medical assistance of any kind. Either you can order a home testing kit for yourself, or you can book an appointment with your nearest testing center or doctor, or head down to a walk-in or drive-through testing site.
If you have received a positive PCR test within the last 90 days, you should not get another one unless:
- You are experiencing new or different COVID symptoms
- You have been in contact with a person, or people who you suspect may have had contact with the new Omicron variant
- You are traveling and must take a PCR test when entering a new country.
If you have no symptoms, you may still get a PCR test under the following conditions:
- You have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID
- You have been asked to get a test by a medical professional
- You are part of a testing project
- You have been asked to confirm a positive result with a follow-up test
- You received an unclear outcome and were asked to take the test again
A PCR test is not a complicated procedure, and it’s nothing to be concerned about. All that the test involves is taking a long-stemmed cotton bud and swabbing the back of your throat and the inside of your nose. You can do this yourself if you are over 12 or have a parent or guardian do it for you if you are younger.
Lateral Flow Test
If you are not showing symptoms or are not eligible to get a PCR test for any other reasons, you can order a rapid lateral flow test kit. If you are going into hospital for any non-COVID-related procedure, you may be asked to get a rapid lateral flow test to confirm that you are not a danger to other patients.
Getting vaccinated and getting tested are both essential parts of keeping the virus at bay. If we all do our part by closely monitoring ourselves for symptoms, adhering to social distancing and mask regulations, and getting our vaccinations as soon as possible, we will conquer COVID together. We hope this information has been helpful.