COVID 19 testing is becoming more important as new variants like Omicron start to enter the United States. There are still concerns about testing and vaccines that keep arising, and while some of those concerns are more difficult to get past, worrying if a COVID-19 test or a blood test for COVID-19 will hurt is something that can be put to rest. Generally, the test itself will not cause any amount of serious pain, but this will vary depending on the type of test and the person receiving the test.
Taking certain steps before you get your COVID-19 test can make the process easier for both you and the person administering the test. Prepping for the type of test is advised as well. Before your saliva test for example, you should drink plenty of water to ensure that you are hydrated. Keep in mind that you should stop drinking water roughly 30 minutes before the test. What you don’t want to do before this test is use tobacco products, chew gum, or use mouthwash. Anything that can skew the test results should not be done.
This type of COVID test is often more painful when compared to the saliva test which tends to be painless. The nasal swab test involves a q-tip like tool being inserted far up into the nasal cavity. The swab is then gently swirled around for 10-15 seconds to collect a quality sample. The pain from this test would come from discomfort and should not be any more painful than a minor inconvenience like a slight sting. There are a few things you can do before and during the test to make the process easy and painless.
Both types of nasal swab tests use similar methods for gathering a sample. The nasopharyngeal (NP) swab is inserted into the nasal cavity parallel to your mouth until either resistance is encountered or the swab reaches about where your ear is located. The swab is then rotated and left inside the nasal cavity for a few seconds before being slowly removed. Any previous damage to your nose or blockage is what would result in complications to this process.
The anterior nasal swab is similar to the NP swab, with the major difference being the method in which the swab is inserted into your nasal cavity and the material of the swab. This swab is inserted into the nasal cavity no more than 1.5cm. The angle at which the swab is inserted is slightly different as well. The anterior nasal swab is inserted at an angle and moved toward the direction of your eye. The swab is rotated the same as NP method and slowly removed so that the sample can be tested. Neither one of these methods is less painful than the other,—in fact, both of these methods are quick and relatively painless.
Samples for COVID-19 can be collected using either of these methods to achieve accurate results. The saliva test is measurably easier to perform than the nasal test as all that is required is that a person spits into a cup. This also makes the saliva test much faster than the NP method. A final benefit of the saliva test is that it does not require the assistance of a medical professional to be performed.
The benefits of the saliva test over the NP test are convenience and speed. You do not need to worry about one being noticeably more accurate than the other. A review and analysis published in JAMA International Medicine found that they both used techniques similar to a PCR test and thus were similarly accurate. The same analysis found that both tests were accurate at diagnosing infection 99% of the time. The choice will ultimately come down to convenience and personal preference.
At BioCollections we understand that a worldwide presence is important to attain diversity in sampling. We are able to provide our researchers with samples from all over the world in order to ensure that we stay ahead of the curve. We provide accurate test results within 24-48 hours. If you have any questions for us feel free to contact us.