Everything you Need to Know About COVID Tests
There’s a lot of information to take in when it comes to COVID tests, so in this short guide, we will take you through everything you need to know. So, whether you want to book Covid travel testing or you think you might have symptoms of the virus, you’ll find all the facts here.
Remember, testing requirements vary by region, so it’s best to check the current rules in your local area before booking a test.
What are the Types of Coronavirus Tests?
First things first, two main types of tests can determine whether or not you are currently infected.
Molecular Test (PCR Test)
This is the more accurate of the two types of tests. It involves taking a swab from the back of the throat, which is then sent off to a lab and examined for evidence of the virus. It can take longer to get your results, but they are more widely accepted.
Antigen Test (Rapid Test)
A swab is also used to collect the sample with an antigen test. However, the sample is not sent off to a lab, and the results are much less accurate. In addition, it’s possible to be infected with COVID-19 before the antigens will be in your system; therefore, false negatives are common.
When Should I Take a COVID Test?
There are three main situations in which it is advisable to take a coronavirus test. Outside of these scenarios, you might also like to test yourself regularly for peace of mind if you are infected but asymptomatic.
If You Have COVID Symptoms
If you develop any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, you should arrange for a test as soon as possible. The most common symptoms are a new cough, a high temperature, and a loss of taste and smell. In this case, you should only leave the house to get a test; otherwise, you should isolate yourself from others until you receive a negative test result.
If You’ve Been Around Someone who has Tested Positive
Even if you don’t have symptoms yourself, you may have been infected if you have been in prolonged, close contact with someone who has tested positive. You should start quarantine immediately and arrange a test if you develop symptoms.
Testing Before and After Travel
The rules around testing before and after traveling to another country change regularly and vary depending on your country of origin and destination. Therefore, it’s best to read up on the latest regulations in your area and arrange the appropriate tests in plenty of time.
In general, the rules regarding testing for fully vaccinated passengers are more relaxed than those not vaccinated. Depending on your vaccination status and the country you are traveling to, you might need to enter quarantine upon arrival.
How Do I Test for Coronavirus?
Whether you are using a home test kit or visiting a test center for a PCR test, the testing method is very similar. Although the test might feel slightly uncomfortable, there are no lasting effects, and it only takes a few moments.
Contact Your Healthcare Provider and Visit a Testing Center
If you are going to a testing center or getting tested at your doctor’s office, you should attend at your allocated time slot to avoid overcrowding. The tester will be wearing full PPE, as pictured above.
They will insert the swab into your nose or the back of your throat, which may feel uncomfortable. Finally, the sample will be securely packaged and labeled, ready to be sent off for investigation in the lab.
You will usually be informed of your test results by text or email within the specified time frame.
Use a Home Testing Kit
If you are testing yourself, you’ll need to gather the sample using a similar technique. The kit will contain full instructions on how to use the swab and take the test. It will also show you how to read the results, so you’ll know straight away if you need to start quarantine or not.
Where Do I Get a COVID Test?
You should contact your local healthcare provider if you need to arrange a test. Your doctor might test you in their office, or you might be sent to your town’s specialist testing center. It depends on what is available in your local area, and the reason for booking a test.
If you don’t currently have symptoms of coronavirus, you may be able to test yourself at home using a rapid test kit.
When Will I Get My Coronavirus Test Results?
The length of time it will take to get your COVID-19 test results back depends on which type of test you are taking, as well as how busy the test center is. If you’ve taken an antigen test, you will be able to see the results almost immediately.
PCR tests take a little longer since they have to be analyzed in a lab. Many patients will get their results the following day, but you might have to wait several days if it is a particularly busy time. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, remember to self-isolate while awaiting your results.
What Happens if my Test is Positive?
If you get the dreaded positive test result from a PCR test, it’s important to start protecting others immediately. You should self-isolate for the required length of time – don’t leave the house until this time has passed to avoid passing the virus on to others.
Remember, a negative result on a rapid test isn’t always conclusive. So if you have symptoms of the virus and get a negative result, it’s best to take a PCR test to make sure.