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Does Cvs Test For The Flu

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Questions For Your Doctor After At

How CVS is working to expand the reach of coronavirus testing

If youve recently taken an at-home flu test, the following questions may be useful to discuss with your doctor:

  • How do you interpret my test result?
  • Do you think the at-home test that I took was accurate?
  • Should I have any follow-up testing?
  • Are any treatments or other measures appropriate given my symptoms and test result?

How Long Does A Flu Test Take

Getting a flu test isnt usually a time-consuming experience. Your healthcare professional may use one of several approaches to collect a specimen. These include:

  • Deep nasal swab. This testing method involves inserting a swab about one inch into the nostril. It doesnt require inserting as deeply as a nasopharyngeal swab .
  • Nasopharyngeal or nasal aspirate. A less commonly used method, this involves using a special suction catcher to suction mucus for sample collection. When the suction catheter is very far in the back of the throat, doctors call this nasopharyngeal aspirate.
  • Nasopharyngeal swab. For this test, youll be asked to tilt your head back, and a healthcare provider will swab both nostrils. The swab should be inserted to where theres an equal distance between the nostril and the outer ear opening.
  • Throat or nasal swab. This testing method involves using both a nasal swab as well as a throat swab that reaches back into the tonsil area of the throat.

Each of these testing methods usually takes no more than 1 minute to perform. Its waiting for your results that can prove longer.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , rapid flu tests are more accurate in detecting the flu in children compared with adults.

With these and other flu tests, its still possible to get a false negative. A doctor should take your symptoms into account as well as if youve been around anyone who was recently diagnosed with the flu.

Think You Might Have The Flu Heres What To Do

Feeling achy? Tired? Feverish? Wondering if you have the flu or even something else?

If youre feeling a little off this season, then you may be considering a sick visit to your neighborhood MinuteClinic®. Seeking care for your flu-like symptoms is more important than ever, especially as we get closer to peak flu season, which typically hits the U.S. in February. Unfortunately, this years flu season is once again complicated by the presence of COVID-19. So, if youre feeling a little off, you may be wondering, Do I have the flu?, making it even more important to get checked, tested and treated as soon as you start to feel symptoms.

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How Do We Know Covid

Every PCR test must be validated, meaning checked for its sensitivity and specificity. The Nebraska Medicine PCR test has been extensively vetted with multiple ways of validation.

Dr. Broadhurst explains, “At the beginning of the pandemic, we went through a very rigorous process. That includes demonstrating the specificity of the test to exclude anything that may cause a false positive.”

Dr. Broadhurst, microbiologist Paul Fey, PhD, microbiology fellow Hannah Creager, PhD, and other experts worked together to ensure a trustworthy test. To ensure specificity, they tested clinical samples and also used databases of genetic sequences.

  • Our researchers took clinical samples from before Nebraska had community spread of COVID-19 and ran the samples through the test. These clinical samples included known results of influenza and other common viruses. The PCR test reported negative on all of them, which makes sense.
  • Researchers also looked through large databases of viral genetic sequences the building blocks of a virus. That way, they ensured the PCR test only picked up a piece unique to SARS-CoV-2 and not another coronavirus or influenza. “Comparing these genetic sequences means we can avoid cross-reactivity,” says Dr. Broadhurst.
  • Flu Vs Covid: How To Tell Them Apart

    Flu shot MinuteClinic 2020

    COVID isn’t the flu. Here’s what you need to know and how testing can help you know what you’re treating.

    COVID isn’t the flu. And the flu isn’t COVID. Here’s what you need to know as we head into respiratory virus season and how you can know it.

    Flu vs. COVID-19: Telling Them ApartThese viruses can have the appearance of nearly being twins.

    • Fever or feeling feverish and having chills?
    • Cough?
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?
    • Fatigue?
    • Muscle pain or body aches?
    • Headache?
    • Even change in or loss of taste or smell?

    All are symptoms that someone may have for both.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report “COVID-19 and flu can spread from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another . Both are spread mainly by large and small particles containing virus that are expelled when people with the illness cough, sneeze, or talk.”

    With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and flu season in the Northern Hemisphere set to begin with a peak around the new year and as mitigating factors like distancing and wearing masks vary from state to state there’s one way to know for sure what you’re dealing with, to put the ID in COVID or the flu.


    Worse, with fewer flu cases, this year’s flu shot formulations are based on less data, meaning their effectiveness could be lessened.


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    After Another Strong Quarter Cvs Raises Outlook For 2022

    Associated Press

    This Sept. 29, 2021 photo shows a sign for the CVS in Wadsworth Plaza in Philadelphia. COVID-19 vaccines and tests for the virus continued to boost CVS Health in the first quarter, and the health care giant finally raised its annual forecast. The drugstore chain and pharmacy benefit manager said Wednesday, May 4, 2022, that it now expects earnings of $8.20 to $8.40 per share for 2022.

    COVID-19 vaccines and tests for the virus continue to boost CVS Health and the health care giant raised its annual forecast after yet another strong quarter.

    The drugstore chain and pharmacy benefit manager also processed more prescriptions and added customers to its health insurance business in a better-than-expected performance.

    The company said Wednesday that it administered more than 8 million COVID-19 vaccines in the first quarter. That represented a big drop from the over 20 million that it administered in the last quarter of 2021, when customers sought boosters and many children began getting shots.

    CVS Health said it also administered more than six million tests in the first quarter, and its drugstores got a boost from customers buying additional test kits to take home as the omicron surge of the virus peaked at the start of the quarter.

    The vaccines and tests are bringing more customers into CVS Health drugstores, but that advantage may be starting to wane, said Neil Saunders, who follows the company as managing director of GlobalData.

    Follow Tom Murphy on .

    Does Medicare Cover Vaccines

    Medicare covers the flu and pneumococcal vaccines at 100% under Part B, along with the hepatitis B vaccine for those at higher risk. That means no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. A tetanus shot after experiencing a deep wound or burn also should be covered.

    Medicare Part D plans should cover the shingles vaccine, but check with your plan. You may have to pay at least a portion out of pocket if you havent yet reached your deductible for the year . There may be a copay, depending on your plan.

    Also Check: Walgreens Flu Shot Cost Medicare

    Where Can You Get A Flu Tests

    Flu tests are available at most doctors offices, urgent care settings, and hospitals.

    Rapid flu tests are usually less costly than laboratory-based tests. According to Beckers Hospital Review, rapid tests cost about $5 to $10, while a laboratory test can cost $200 or more.

    You may wish to contact a facility where youre seeking testing to ensure they have flu tests available, especially if youre in flu season, which usually takes place in the late fall to winter.

    Is The Vaccine Safe

    Walgreens, CVS Working To Address Demand For Rapid Tests

    The flu vaccine is safe, says Dr. Mieses Malchuk. The most common side effect is muscle soreness where the shot was given. If the vaccine is doing its jobwhich is to stimulate the immune systemyou may also feel achy or tired.

    This does not mean youre sick, she stresses. Because the flu shot doesnt contain any live virus, it cant give you the actual flu. It also doesnt cause autism or any other illness, despite continuing rumors to the contrary.

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    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.

    How To Get Low

    Children can receive financial assistance through the federal Vaccines for Children program. This is for kids who are:

    • Uninsured

    • Medicaid-eligible

    • American Indian or Alaska Native

    The shingles vaccines manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, offers a patient assistance program for those without insurance who cant afford the vaccine. Your healthcare provider needs to apply for the program on your behalf.

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    What Types Of Vaccines Are Available

    There is more than one flu shot, so it can be challenging to decide which one to get. Flu shots are by far the most common flu vaccine available, although there is also a nasal spray. You can get the spray if youre healthy, between the ages of 2 to 49, and if you arent pregnant.

    Almost all vaccines this year are quadrivalent, which means they protect against four different strains of the flu virus. Its important that you get a new flu vaccine every year. Thats because the specific virus strains change every year. Last seasons vaccine wont protect you against this seasons virus.

    CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinics are offering the standard quadrivalent flu vaccine as well as the high-dose flu vaccine, which is for adults 65 and over.

    Adults 18 and older who are allergic to eggs can also get the Flublok quadrivalent, says Linda Molaka, pharmacy manager at CVS Pharmacy. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which is best for you.

    Benefits And Downsides Of At

    CVS To Offer Drive

    To decide if at-home flu testing is a good fit for your needs, its important to consider its potential positives and negatives.

    The main possible benefits of at-home flu testing include:

    • Convenience: An at-home test can be ordered online and performed at home at your convenience without needing to make an appointment or go to a medical office.
    • Testing in isolation: If you are worried about being contagious with the flu, at-home testing allows you to get tested while avoiding contact with other people.
    • Option to test for flu and COVID-19: Some at-home test kits are able to test for both the flu and COVID-19 with one test sample.
    • Transparent pricing: Most at-home influenza testing involves a single, all-inclusive price that is clearly shown before making your payment.

    Some of the main possible downsides of at-home flu testing include:

    If you have questions about whether to have at-home influenza testing, you can talk with your doctor about how to evaluate its pros and cons in your specific case.

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    How Effective Is The Vaccine

    This varies from season to season because the vaccine itself changes each year. If the vaccine and the virus strains are a good match, the vaccine should be between 40 percent and 60 percent effective, says the CDC. If you do get sick even after a vaccine, chances are your illness will be much milder.

    The CDC estimates that every year the flu hospitalizes 140,000 to 810,000 people and kills between 12,000 and 61,000. The vaccine may save 6,300 lives annually.

    Flu Shots Are Now Available At Cvs Pharmacy And Minuteclinic

    CVS Health announced Aug. 25, 2020 that flu shots are now available at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic. The CDC recommends the vaccine be administered no later than the end of October.

    CVS Health announced in an Aug. 25 news release that flu shots are now available at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic.

    CVS Health advised in the release that with the ongoing health impacts of COVID-19 on local communities, it is more important than ever to stay current with vaccinations and other routine health care needs. Taking proactive measures like getting a flu shot this fall to improve general health and immunity, will protect individuals and families against seasonal flu, help safeguard the overall health of the community and minimize the impact on health care resources.

    Recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that individuals make plans to get vaccinated early in the fall, before flu season begins, and ideally no later than the end of October, the release said.

    We know our patients and customers are doing everything they can to keep their families as healthy as possible, while minimizing potential exposure to the flu and COVID-19, said Jon Roberts, chief operating officer, CVS Health. Because it can take two weeks for the vaccine to build immunity, we encourage all of our patients to get their shot in September or early October, before flu season peaks, the release quoted.

    Where and when are the shots available?

    Is an appointment required?

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    Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About A Flu Test

    A new flu vaccine is made each fall. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for most people 6 months or older. It is especially recommended for people in high-risk groups, such as young children, adults over the age of 65, and individuals with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma or heart disease. If you have questions about the flu vaccine, talk to your health care provider.

    Where Can I Get A Flu Shot

    How to find an at-home COVID test kit, what to do if you can’t find one but think you have the virus

    You can get the vaccine in medical settings like your doctors office, certain workplaces that are still open, and at retailers across the country, including CVS which has nearly 10,000 locations, including 1,100 MinuteClinics. These are walk-in medical clinics located inside certain CVS and Target locations.

    Given that flu season has already started, the best time to get a shot is right now. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to fully take effect.

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    What Do The Results Mean

    A positive result means you may have the flu. Your health care provider may prescribe medicine to help prevent flu complications. A negative result means you likely don’t have the flu, and that some other virus is probably causing your symptoms. Your health care provider may order more tests before making a diagnosis. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

    Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.

    Flu Cases Typically Peak Around The End Of The Year

    CVS’ announcement comes at the start of National Influenza Vaccination Week, which runs this year from Dec. 5 to 11. According to CVS, the CDC established this week in 2005 to highlight the importance of flu vaccinations throughout the holiday season and into the new year, as flu activity typically hits its peak around this time.

    “Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May,” the CDC states. According to current data, flu activity is still low in the U.S. but it is slowly increasing.

    “As the country continues the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, a flu shot remains the most effective way to protect against seasonal flu and is an important step individuals and families can take to help safeguard the overall health of the community and minimize the impact on strained health care resource,” CVS states.

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    Is The Shingles Vaccine Covered By Medicare And Can I Get It At Cvs

    Because the shingles vaccine requires two doses, if you have to pay full price around $400 total it may approach the $445 maximum Part D deductible that Medicare allows for 2021.

    If thats the case, you may want to consider getting your vaccine early in the year. This way you dont have to worry about your deductible resetting in a new plan year soon after meeting it. You should discuss the risks and benefits of this strategy with your healthcare provider.

    As far as going to CVS Pharmacy or CVS in Target to get your shingles vaccine, this is definitely an option. You can always call ahead or go online to schedule same-day appointments, or go in on a walk-in basis at many locations.

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