Why Do You Need It
When your doctor finds the flu virus, they can give you antiviral drugs early on. This is when they work best. If you get diagnosed early — within 48 hours after symptoms show up — these drugs can ease your symptoms and shorten the illness by a day or so. After the first 2 days, though, these meds wont do much for you.
A flu test can also help your doctor rule out giving you antibiotics. Those dont work against viral infections like the flu.
Should I Get A Flu Shot
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months old and older get a flu shot each season. In particular, people who are at high risk of complications from the flu should receive the vaccine. These include young children, the elderly, residents of nursing home and other long-term care facilities, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, and liver or kidney disorders.
How Will I Know If I Have The Flu 5
There are tests available to diagnose the flu. The most common test is the rapid influenza diagnostic test. This test can provide results in 30 minutes or less. The ability of these tests to detect the flu can vary greatly, and may be better at detecting the flu in children than in adults. Most people with flu symptoms do not require testing because the test results usually do not change how you are treated. Your health care provider may diagnose you with the flu based on your symptoms, and their clinical judgment, or they may choose to use an influenza diagnostic test.
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What Is Strep Throat
Strep throat is a painful and contagious bacterial infection of the tonsils and the throat. Symptoms generally include sore throat, red and swollen tonsils, a fever, and swollen lymph nodes, but sometimes include abdominal pain and headache. Persons with strep throat can be contagious for up to two weeks after falling ill, but can sometimes return to their normal schedule after a couple days.
How To Know If You Have The Flu
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, it is first and foremost important to test for COVID-19. Especially as the new highly transmissible Omicron variant circulates, getting a COVID-19 diagnosis early will allow you to self-isolate and protect others from infection.
For a flu diagnosis, Schaffner recommends first reaching out to a primary care provider via a telehealth portal, email, or phone. Showing up to a doctors office or urgent care site puts others at risk of getting sick and it may be unnecessary unless youre experiencing a medical emergency.
Peter Chin-Hong, MD, professor of infectious diseases at University of California, San Francisco, recommends taking a flu test if you tested negative for COVID-19. While uncommon, its possible to be infected with both COVID-19 and flu at the same time.
I think a lot of people are stuck in limbo land with symptoms, Chin-Hong told Verywell. You keep doing a million BinaxNOW assays just because you want to convince yourself that you don’t have COVID.
Health providers can diagnose a case of the flu through a description of symptoms, a physical exam, or through a nasal or throat swab test.
There was an increase in the number of flu tests this year, driven in part by concern that this flu season would see a particularly high case rate, Chin-Hong said. In the last week of November, nearly 59,000 samples were tested for the flu, compared with 22,000 specimens during the same week in 2018.
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What Is A Rapid Flu Test
While not always necessary or accurate at diagnosing the flu, rapid flu tests are recommended when a patient is showing symptoms of the flu and the provider wants to rule out any other health conditions, like a respiratory infection. A sample is obtained by swabbing the inside of the patients nose or the back of his or her throat. At PhysicianOne Urgent Care, we have an on-site clinical lab and can have the results of your flu test in about 15 minutes.
Influenza Virus Testing Methods
|Rapid Influenza Diagnostic Tests4||A and B||NP5 swab, aspirate or wash, nasal swab, aspirate or wash, throat swab||< 15 min.|
|Rapid Molecular Assay||A and B|
|Immunofluorescence, Direct or Indirect Florescent Antibody Staining||A and B||NP4 swab or wash, bronchial wash, nasal or endotracheal aspirate||1-4 hours||No|
|RT-PCR7 and other molecular assays||A and B||NP5 swab, throat swab, NP5 or bronchial wash, nasal or endotracheal aspirate, sputum||Varies||No|
|Rapid cell culture||A and B||NP5 swab, throat swab, NP5 or bronchial wash, nasal or endotracheal aspirate, sputum||1-3 days|
|Viral tissue cell culture||A and B||NP5 swab, throat swab, NP5 or bronchial wash, nasal or endotracheal aspirate, sputum||3-10 days||No|
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What Are The Covid Symptoms I Should Act On
The NHS says people should still look out for classic Covid symptoms:
- a new, continuous cough
- a fever/high temperature
- loss of or change to smell or taste
But for some people, having Covid can feel “more like a bad cold” with symptoms such as a headache, sore throat and a runny nose.
The Zoe Covid study app asks hundreds of thousands of people to log their symptoms and investigators have looked at those linked to the dominant Delta variant and the new highly spreadable variant Omicron.
So far, the top five symptoms are:
- runny nose
- sore throat
If you think you may have Covid, it is important to get tested. Even people who don’t feel very ill can put others at risk.
Postpone Your Flu Shot If You Have Covid
The best way to protect yourself and others against seasonal flu infection this fall or winter is to get a flu shot. According to the CDC, the flu shot reduced the risk of flu by 40% to 60% when the vaccine was well matched to the viruses estimated to be spreading in previous flu seasons.
But if you have a suspected or confirmed coronavirus infection, the CDCadvises postponing a flu shot until after your symptoms have resolved. This recommendation is essential if you are very sick, but it also applies if you tested positive for COVID-19 and do not have any symptoms.
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When Is It Ordered
Flu tests are mostly ordered during flu season , especially when a person is hospitalized, has a weakened immune systems, or is otherwise at an increased risk of serious complications. Testing is usually ordered within 3 days of the onset of signs and symptoms, such as:
- With some flu strains, diarrhea and vomiting
When influenza has not yet been documented in the community, a healthcare practitioner may order a rapid flu test both to document the presence of influenza in the area and to help diagnose an individual’s current illness.
Testing may be ordered during outbreaks of respiratory illnesses when influenza is the suspected cause.
Sometimes testing may be done when someone who died had a severe, acute illness and influenza was the suspected cause.
How To Test For Flu
There are a number of tests used to diagnose the flu. The mostcommon are rapid influenza diagnostic tests , and they may beperformed in a health care providers office. RIDTs work by detectingantigens that stimulate an immune response. Arapid molecular assay is another flu test that works by detectinggenetic material of the virus. In addition to rapid tests, there areseveral more accurate and sensitive flu tests that must be performedin specialized laboratories, such as those found in hospitals orstate public health laboratories.
A flu test typically involves a health care provider collectinga sample from the inside of your nose or back of your throat using asterile swab. The swab is then tested for the flu.
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When Should People Seek Medical Attention Right Away
If you experience shortness of breath, then seek medical care right away, said Chin-Hong. You may notice, for example, that its harder to catch your breath walking up the stairs. That could be a sign that your oxygen levels are low, possibly due to COVID-19.
If you are older, immunocompromised, or have other health conditions that make you more vulnerable to COVID-19, contact your doctor sooner than later if you experience any symptoms, said Chin-Hong.
Are There Different Types Of Flu Tests
In a lab setting, there are a few different ways to test for influenza. The most common test for flu is called a “rapid influenza diagnostic test” . These RIDTs detect the part of the virus that stimulates an immune response, known as an antigen, the CDC says. Another type of flu test, called a “rapid molecular assay” detects the actual genetic material of the flu virus. Both of these tests are termed “rapid” because they can provide results in 1015 minutes or 1520 minutes .
Even more accurate than RIDTs and rapid molecular assays are tests most often found in hospitals or public health laboratories . Those tests are known as: reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction tests, viral cultures, or immunofluorescence assays, the CDC says. These results also take a little longerup to several hours.
But as far as you’re concerned, all of those tests require the same thing from you: a nasal swab, where a provider swipes the inside of your nose or a throat swab, Cassandra Pierre, MD, MPH, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center, tells Health. Even more specifically, some tests go further back in the nose, while the rapid test only goes right inside, Anjali Mahoney, MD, MPH, a family medicine specialist with Keck Medicine of USC, tells Health.
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How To Avoid Spreading The Flu
Flu is very infectious and easily spread to other people. You’re more likely to give it to others in the first 5 days.
Flu is spread by germs from coughs and sneezes, which can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.
To reduce the risk of spreading flu:
- wash your hands often with warm water and soap
- use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
- bin used tissues as quickly as possible
Where To Get Rapid Flu Strep & Mono Tests
When you or someone in your family has fallen ill, you want to start the healing process as soon as possible. Count on a FastMed clinic for rapid flu, strep, and mono tests. At our medical clinic, qualified healthcare professionals will treat you right away. You dont have to wait for an appointment with your primary care provider or face the expense of an emergency department visit. Get prompt and affordable testing and treatment 7 days a week, 365 days a year at FastMed.
* The content presented on this page is not intended to diagnose health problems or take the place of professional medical care.
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Does Sneezing Mean I’ve Got Coronavirus
Sneezing is not a classic symptom of coronavirus, and unless you also have a fever, cough or loss of smell and taste, you do not need a test, according to the NHS.
Sneeze droplets can spread infections though, so catch them in a tissue, put it in the bin and then wash your hands.
To help stop the spread of coronavirus and other illnesses:
- Wash your hands regularly
- Use a face covering when social distancing is not possible
- Try to keep your distance from those not in your household
Everything You Need To Know About This Winter’s Potential Twindemic And The New Multiplex Coronavirus And Influeza Nasal Swab Test
A new test can identify both respiratory viruses at the same time.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still on an upward trend in much of the US, flu season looks different this year. “Double whammy” and “twindemic” have been used to describe the tsunami of the two respiratory viruses that first responders are bracing themselves for this winter. Many endocrine conditions such as diabetes and obesity are in the high-risk category for severe complications from the Coronavirus and influenza. This makes it more critical than ever to get a flu vaccine and take measures to decrease your risk of catching and spreading COVID-19.
Even though it wont protect against the Coronavirus, the flu vaccine adds layer of protection to keep you as healthy as possible this winter, because the last thing you want would be to catch COVID-19 when you’re already compromised with the flu.
If you do come down with symptoms of cough, fever, and body aches, theres now a simultaneous test available to determine whether its COVID-19, influenza, or neither one. The new test can quickly arrive at the cause of your sickness to help you get the treatment you need ASAP. Just like the Coronavirus swab test, which goes high up into your nasal passage to collect samples, the new multiplex test is performed the same way. The CDC, LabCorp, and Roche have all announced FDA-approved multiplex tests currently rolling out to health care providers nationwide in time for this year’s flu season.
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Can You Tell If Its The Flu Or Covid
As the flu season ramps up this fall and winter, every cough and sniffle will carry an extra worry: possible COVID-19 infection.
With influenza, COVID-19, and the usual cold-weather respiratory infections in circulation, experts say its bound to be a confusing season for people to sort out what to do when they fall ill.
We talked to UC San Francisco emergency care physician Jahan Fahimi, MD, and infectious disease specialist Peter Chin-Hong, MD, about the differences between flu and COVID-19, when to get a test, and why you shouldnt try to diagnose yourself.
What Does The Test Measure
There are different types of measurements that can be used in at-home tests to detect an influenza virus infection.
Some at-home flu tests measure whether there are any detectable proteins on the surface of the influenza virus called antigens. These viral antigens, when present in the respiratory tract, can then trigger a response from the immune system resulting in the flu-like symptoms. The presence of antigens on a nasal swab or saliva sample can be an indication of an influenza infection.
Another type of at-home flu test measures whether there are any pieces of the viruss genetic material in your test sample and are known as molecular tests. One common type of molecular test uses technology known as reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction .
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When Should I Get An At
There are no strict guidelines or clear recommendations for when to take an at-home flu test.
In general, flu testing is only conducted when you have symptoms that could be caused by an underlying infection with an influenza virus. Testing is most often done when symptoms are significant or when you are at higher risk of flu complications because of your age, coexisting medical conditions, or pregnancy.
A flu test is often not necessary if you have only mild symptoms and flu transmission in your community is high. In these cases, testing may not be needed because it would not change the way you are treated.
If you have flu-like symptoms or are concerned about possibly having the flu, you should talk with a doctor. Since there are multiple factors involved in determining whether a flu test is appropriate, the doctor can address whether testing, including at-home testing, is recommended in your situation.
You Should Get A Flu Shot If Youve Had Covid
Do you need a flu vaccine if you have COVID-19 or if youve had it in the past? The short answer is an emphatic yes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has different recommendations on the ideal timing for getting a flu vaccine, depending on whether you currently have COVID-19 or you have recovered, as well as the severity of your illness.
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What Is The Flu
Influenza is an acute respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses that routinely spreads through the U.S. during the winter months. Frequent symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, congestion, chills, and a runny or stuffy nose. While this respiratory infection can be mild for many, it is serious and even life-threatening for some. Those most at risk for severe complications are young children, older adults, pregnant women, those with chronic health conditions, or those with weakened immune systems. Many people diagnose themselves with the flu and manage the illness at home with over-the-counter pain relievers. However, getting a flu test and a prescription antiviral medication can reduce the severity and length of your symptoms.