Covid 19 and Covid testing have rapidly become a standard part of our daily lives. At this point in the pandemic, you or at least someone you know have been tested. As society has been opening back up, many places require a negative Covid test in order to participate. In particular, airlines for domestic and international travel. There may also be requirements for a negative Covid result for other situations that the facility or organization has imposed for safety reasons.
Types of COVID-19 Tests
There are several different types of Covid tests that are available. There are some that are administered by a healthcare professional at a lab or clinic and those you can now do at home. Make sure you know what type is required if you are required to prove a negative test to participate in an event or function. Certain places will need one that was done professionally and within a certain timeframe. There are two categories of COVID-19 tests. One is a diagnostic test that can detect active COVID-19 infection in your mucus or saliva. The other is a blood test that can show past infection through the presence of antibodies, which means that your immune system has already had the infection.
Different Types of Covid Tests
There are three main tests that are performed to detect traces of Covid. PCR, Antigen, and a blood test. The Antigen is the most rapid, as the others need to be analyzed in a lab.
A diagnostic test is done by a healthcare professional in a lab or clinic. These include the PCR and Antigen tests. They are done by using a sample of saliva, mucus, blood, or tissue. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are a fast, highly accurate way to diagnose certain infectious diseases like Covid. The tests work by finding the DNA or RNA of a pathogen (disease-causing organism) or abnormal cells in a sample. These are used for cancer screening, among many others.
Antigen tests give you results much faster. This test will find certain proteins in the virus. Using a nasal swab to get a fluid sample, Others may be sent to a lab for analysis. Home kits can use saliva or a nasal swab that you administer yourself. This is the type of test you will need if you need to provide a negative Covid test within a 24-hour period. The PCR test can take much longer, several days, in fact. These tests are often referred to as rapid tests. Antigen tests detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus. In general, antigen tests are used by a healthcare professional or trained operator at point-of-care, but lab-based antigen tests exist as well.
at Home You are likely aware of the tests that you can take at home by yourself. They are rapid tests that can deliver results very quickly. These are ideal for those who want to monitor their own progress. They work well if you have any symptoms of Covid, have been exposed to someone who has Covid, or you tested positive for Covid from a professional Covid test. You can use these home tests to check yourself and your family if you are going to an event or larger gathering, have people coming to your home, or you want to monitor the progress of your own Covid infection. These home tests are fine for personal needs, but if you are taking a flight, you will likely need to have a Covid test done at a regulated lab or clinic. Check with the airline to find out what they require, as these regulations will vary. Self-tests do not detect antibodies that would suggest a previous infection and they can’t provide information on your level of immunity. If you are worried that you are not getting an exact result, contact your healthcare professional or visit a lab.
Even people who are fully vaccinated and wear their masks can still get Covid. High-risk people are those in the healthcare profession, those who work in essential services and come into contact with a large number of people every day, and those with a compromised immune system. It’s smart to get tested if you are at high risk. You can still pass the infection on without having any symptoms. Tests can also give a false negative, which means you can have Covid but the test didn’t detect it. It takes seconds to take the test and the people who administer them are very experienced and professional. If you have only seen it being done, you may think it’s going to be rather uncomfortable, but it really isn’t. They simply swab the inside of your nose to get the mucus to test. It happens very gently and very quickly, so it is over within a few seconds. The home tests still require a swab from your nose or throat. It’s vital that you follow the directions on the home kits to get the true results. If you are using home kits to monitor your progress, that’s fine. If you are only using home kits, you should consider getting a professional test from a recognized lab or clinic.
Get Tested, Keep Testing
If you had a Covid test for a flight, then you should test again after. An airplane is a tight space with many people inside and your chances of exposure are high. If you have recently been to a hospital, large indoor event, or exposed to people with Covid, get tested. It’s for your own health and safety, and for those around you, your family, and co-workers. Testing, vaccinations, social distancing, and masks are still the best bet for squashing this horrendous infection. People are still dying every day. Everyone is tired of being in lockdown and isolation. If you are attending a public event or hosting one yourself, get tested and strongly suggest that your guests do, as well.