What You Need To Know Before Getting A COVID-19 Test

Disclaimer: This article is entirely reflective of the author’s experience with the nasal swab COVID-19 test. We acknowledge that other methods of COVID-19 testing exist

We’ve probably all heard a lot of rumours regarding the COVID-19 test. Ever since the pandemic started, people have posted their experiences with the COVID-19 nasal swab all over social media. Therefore, many of us likely have questions about the tests, especially whether we’ll be safe and how tedious the testing process is. 

If you worry about the COVID-19 test, you’ve come to the right place. Though every hospital has slightly different testing procedures, I’ve decided to share my COVID-19 testing experience. Here’s what you should expect from the nasal swab test: 

1. The nasal swab is both a molecular test and an antigen test.

There are three types of tests for the novel Coronavirus: molecular, antigen, and antibody. A nasal swab is  both a molecular and an antigen test. Instead of looking for antibodies in the immune system, a diagnostic test like the nasal swab identifies the virus’ genetic materials and proteins. 

2. If you get the swab test, you’ll probably encounter long lines.

As soon as my family and I arrived at the hospital, we saw two long lines of patients. One line was for test registration, and the other was for the testing itself. Waiting to register did not take long at all, but the wait to take the test was another story. 30 people were in front of us, and it took over 70 minutes for them to call us for the test.  If you end up booking an appointment on a cold day, remember to wear a warm coat and bring gloves so you don’t freeze in such a long line! 

3. Be prepared to sanitize everything as much as possible.

Before the test, I sanitized my clothes, my hands, and even my health insurance card. Since testing involves standing in a crowded area with so many people, it’s best to sanitize anything you can before and after visiting, as well as whenever else your testing location requires you to. As soon as you arrive home from your COVID-19 test, change your clothes and put them in a separate laundry bin. 

4. The nose swab isn’t as bad as you think it is.

Though many of our friends may tell us that the nose swab is painful, the procedure is not as bad as we might think. Sure, the pictures of the test may look gross, and visualizing a long cotton swab in your nose may be disturbing. But at the end, the nasal swab isn’t too painful. If you’re a swimmer, prepare yourself by jumping into the pool.  If you don’t swim, hold your breath, and don’t panic.

The COVID-19 test may seem nerve-wracking, but the test process isn’t as scary as we perceive it to be. But regardless of what happens during the test, we should all remember how important it is that we prioritize health and safety during the pandemic.

Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response

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