How to conduct a flu test
A professional physician can be able to tell when you have flu by basing on the symptoms you have. This can be easier especially if it is during the peak cold season. However, in very few cases do doctors conduct a quick test to be sure if the virus is to blame or whether you have any other health problem. In most cases, you can know that you have flu if you have a cough, a runny or stuffy nose, headache and a fever. In acute cases, you can experience diarrhea or vomiting. There are other respiratory problems that have similar symptoms like the flu. This, it is necessary to conduct a flu test and not to depend on symptoms alone.
Why do you need a test?
When your physician finds out that you have the flu virus, he can prescribe the antiviral drugs as early as possible since this is when they function best. In case you are diagnosed with the symptoms before 48 hours, the drugs can ease the symptoms and you can get full recovery within a shorter period. Your doctor can also rule out the idea of giving you an antibiotic since they do not work against flu since they are viral in nature.
How to run a flu test
It is always important to conduct a flu test during the cold season. However, it is also entirely important to know how to conduct the flu test. For the best outcomes, follow the following procedure:
- Choose a swab that is fixed to a handle and has a flocked tip.
- Insert the flocked tip inside your nose.
- Move the swab in a circular motion at least five times to collect a sizable sample.
- The swab should also remain inside the nose for not more than 10 minutes.
- To avoid the compromise of the specimen quality, ensure you put the sample in a vial 3ml.
- Break the handle of the swab carefully and label the vial with your name before sending it to the lab for easier identification.
- Wait for 15-30 minutes for the results.
There are very many ways to test for influenza. You can conduct a test by rubbing a swab similar to the cotton swab but a longer one. Unfortunately most tests vary depending on the type of test conducted. This means that the test results may show you are negative but still have the flu. There are more sensitive and accurate tests that are available in special laboratories. The same procedure of putting a swab inside your nose is done to collect a sample to be sent to the lab for all tests. This means you will not be required to provide a blood sample.
How effective is a rapid test in detecting the flu?
In case there is an influenza outbreak, it is highly likely that a rapid test will prove that you have influenza. However, the rapid tests vary in terms of their abilities to detect the flu viruses. This will also depend on the number of viruses circulating. If the sample is big enough, then the chances of detecting the influenza viruses is high.
Some of the other tests that can bring credible results include the use of the traditional viral culture and the enzyme immune assay test. The tests work well when combined with the direct fluorescent antibody assays and the real time molecular tests. When conducting a flu test, be careful and consider getting a professional to do it for you. This is because flu is easily transmitted.