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How Long Can You Test Positive For The Flu

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How Long After Covid Exposure Could You Test Positive

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According to the CDC, the incubation period for COVID is between two and 14 days, though the newest guidance from the agency suggests a quarantine of five days for those who are not boosted, but eligible or unvaccinated. Those looking to get tested after exposure should do so five days after the exposure or if they begin experiencing, the CDC recommends.

Those who are boosted and vaccinated, or those who are fully vaccinated and not yet eligible for a booster shot, do not need to quarantine, but should wear masks for 10 days and also get tested five days after the exposure, unless they are experiencing symptoms.

Still, for those who are vaccinated and boosted but are still looking to be cautious, medical experts say an additional test at seven days could help. But testing is likely not necessary after seven days following exposure for those who are vaccinated and boosted.

Getting A Positive Covid Test

Nichols said that if you test positive but do not have symptoms, you should isolate for 10 full days from the positive test.

If you have had COVID, you can start seeing other people after certain criteria have been met:

  • Its been at least 10 days since your symptoms started
  • Youve gone at least 24 hours without a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
  • Your symptoms are getting better and you do not have any new symptoms

The Omicron Surge Continues While The Flu Is Picking Up Steam

“COVID rates have never been worse in our area and for much of the country,” Dr. Costi Sifri, director of hospital epidemiology at UVA Health, told TODAY.

That’s largely fueled by the emergence of the omicron variant on top of delta COVID-19 cases that were already spreading, Eili Klein, associate professor in the department of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told TODAY.

“If you add the prospect of flu to the mix, that can only exacerbate what is already a very, very challenging situation in health care particularly for us in general,” Sifri said.

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Who Should Get Testing

Flu tests are typically only performed when you have symptoms that are suggestive of a possible influenza virus infection. Several factors can influence whether flu testing is likely to be beneficial, including:

  • Whether there is extensive transmission of influenza viruses in your community
  • Whether you are at higher risk of severe complications from the flu
  • Whether the test result will change your treatment plan
  • Whether you have gotten sick as part of a respiratory disease outbreak in a school, nursing home, cruise ship, or similar situation where flu diagnosis may influence infection control measures

In many cases, especially if you have mild symptoms or are not at high risk of complications, a flu test is unnecessary because it will not change the course of your medical care. Similarly, if an influenza virus is spreading in your area and you have symptoms that are consistent with the flu, a diagnosis of influenza can be made without a flu test.

In contrast, if you have severe symptoms, are being hospitalized, or have an elevated risk of developing life-threatening complications, you are more likely to have flu testing. Testing is also generally done more often during seasonal periods when influenza virus transmission is high.

If I Get Sick With Covid

How Long Will You Test Positive For Covid Antibodies

It varies. Most people with mild cases appear to recover within one to two weeks. However, recent surveys conducted by the CDC found that recovery may take longer than previously thought, even for adults with milder cases who do not require hospitalization. The CDC survey found that one-third of these adults had not returned to normal health within two to three weeks of testing positive for COVID-19. Among younger adults who did not require hospitalization and who did not have any underlying health conditions, nearly one in five had not returned to normal health within two to three weeks after testing positive for COVID-19. With severe cases, recovery can take six weeks or more.

Some people may experience longer-term physical, cognitive, and psychological problems. Their symptoms may alternately improve and worsen over time, and can include a variety of difficulties, from fatigue and trouble concentrating to anxiety, muscle weakness, and continuing shortness of breath.

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How Is Someone Tested For Covid

A specialized diagnostic test must be done to confirm that a person has an active coronavirus infection. Most often a clinician takes a swab of your nose . Some tests may be done using a saliva sample. The sample is then checked for the virus’s genetic material or for specific viral proteins .

Antibody tests can tell if someone has been infected with COVID-19. But the infected person doesn’t begin producing antibodies immediately. It can take as long as three weeks for a blood antibody test to turn positive. That’s why it is not useful as a diagnostic test for someone with new symptoms.

What Does It Really Mean To Self

If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you may be infected with the COVID-19 virus, it is important not to spread the infection to others while you recover. While home-isolation or home-quarantine may sound like a staycation, you should be prepared for a long period during which you might feel disconnected from others and anxious about your health and the health of your loved ones. Staying in touch with others by phone or online can be helpful to maintain social connections, ask for help, and update others on your condition.

Here’s what the CDC recommends to minimize the risk of spreading the infection to others in your home and community.

Stay home except to get medical care

  • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
  • Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Restrict contact with pets and other animals while you are sick with COVID-19, just like you would around other people. When possible, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask.

Wear a face mask if you are sick

  • Wear a face mask when you are around other people or pets and before you enter a doctor’s office or hospital.

Cover your coughs and sneezes

Clean your hands often

Monitor your symptoms

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Is The Flu Contagious

The flu is very contagious. People can spread it from a day before they feel sick until their symptoms are gone. This is about 1 week for adults, but it can be longer for young kids.

The flu usually happens in annual epidemics. An epidemic is when an illness spreads quickly and infects lots of people in an area at the same time. Some years the epidemic is more severe and widespread than others. An epidemic that spreads worldwide is called a pandemic. This is far less common. There were three influenza pandemics in the 20th century, and one so far in the 21st century, in 2009 with influenza A .

During the coronavirus pandemic, experts found that wearing masks can help protect the community from the spread of germs. They recommended that all children age 2 and up wear a mask when out in public or around people who don’t live with them. Wearing masks can also help stop the spread of flu.

What About A Cough

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If you have a cold or flu you may well have a cough, along with other symptoms.

Flu usually comes on suddenly and sufferers will often experience muscle aches, chills, headaches, tiredness, a sore throat and a runny or stuffed nose, along with the cough. It feels worse than a heavy cold.

Colds tend to develop more gradually and are less severe, although they do still make you feel unwell. Along with a cough, there may be sneezing and a sore throat and runny nose. Fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches are rare.

A coronavirus cough means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing fits or “episodes” in 24 hours.

If you usually have a cough because of a long-standing medical condition like COPD, it may be worse than usual.

You should get tested for coronavirus if you develop a new, continuous cough.

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Which Children Are At Risk For The Flu

A child is more at risk for the flu if he or she:

  • Is around people infected with the flu

  • Has not had the flu vaccine

  • Does not wash his or her hands after touching infected surfaces

Young children and children with certain underlying health conditions are at increased risk for a hospital stay or severe or complicated influenza infection.

How Do I Know If I Have Flu

Your respiratory illness might be influenza if you have fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and/or fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children. People may be sick with flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever. Flu viruses usually cause the most illness during the colder months of the year. However, flu can also occur outside of the typical flu season. In addition, other viruses can also cause respiratory illness similar to flu. So, it is impossible to tell for sure if you have flu based on symptoms alone. If your doctor needs to know for sure whether you are sick with flu, there are laboratory tests that can be done.

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What Else Can Help

To make spreading the flu less likely, everyone in your family should::

  • Wash hands well and often with soap, especially after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and before eating or preparing food
  • Never pick up used tissues.
  • Never share cups and eating utensils.
  • Stay home from work or school if they have the flu.
  • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, then put it in the trash.
  • Cough or sneeze into their upper arm, not their hands, if a tissue isn’t handy.

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How Long Can You Test Positive for Covid After Infection ...

He adds that though there needs to be more research done, it may be that some of the people who have milder symptoms are still potentially infectious, which calls for doctors to rethink some of the initiatives on how to stop the flu from spreading.

According to Hayward, few people visit the doctor when they have the flu, and even when they do, doctors rarely diagnose them as having influenza.

It’s not enough, he says, to just tell people to stay home to avoid spreading the illness, especially if they aren’t struck with the debilitating symptoms of a severe flu. And while flu vaccines are still important, they aren’t 100 percent effective among healthy young adults and are even less so among the elderly population.

But this study should not be taken to mean that the flu is as trivial as the common cold. “The flu is very common, and often mild, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take it seriously because from time to time it can lead to very severe complications,” he says.

And while doctors work on rethinking the spread of flu, Hayward says people can protect themselves by getting vaccinated and by regularly washing their hands.

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Use Of Ridts In Clinical Decision

RIDTs may be used to help with diagnostic and treatment decisions for patients in clinical settings, such as whether to prescribe antiviral medications. However, due to the limited sensitivities, negative results of RIDTs do not exclude influenza virus infection in patients with signs and symptoms suggestive of influenza. Therefore, if clinically indicated, antiviral treatment should not be withheld from patients with suspected influenza, even if they test negative by RIDT, and further influenza testing of respiratory specimens by molecular assays may be indicated. More information about Antiviral Drugs and recommendations on their use.

Testing is not needed for all patients with signs and symptoms of influenza to make antiviral treatment decisions . Once influenza activity has been documented in the community or geographic area, a clinical diagnosis of influenza can be made for outpatients with signs and symptoms consistent with suspected influenza, especially during periods of peak influenza activity in the community.

What If I’m Fully Vaccinated

According to the CDC, if you are fully vaccinated and exposed to someone with COVID, you do not need to quarantine unless you have symptoms.

However, the CDC states that fully vaccinated people who were in close contact with a person who has COVID should get tested 5-7 days after their exposure, even if they dont have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.

Isolation is when you avoid other people because you might have been exposed to someone with COVID but you are not sure, and you are not sure if you could be sick.

While you are isolating, the CDC recommends that you:

  • Monitor your symptoms
  • Stay in a separate room from other people who live in your home
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible
  • Avoid contact with others in your home, including your pets
  • Do not share personal items, such as cups, towels, and utensils
  • Wear a mask if you have to be around other people

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How Reliable Are The Tests For Covid

Two types of diagnostic tests are currently available in the US. PCR tests detect viral RNA. Antigen tests, also called rapid diagnostic tests, detect specific proteins on the surface of the coronavirus. Antigen test results may come back in as little as 15 to 45 minutes you may wait several days or longer for PCR test results.

The accuracy of any diagnostic test depends on many factors, including whether the sample was collected properly. For PCR tests, which are typically analyzed in a laboratory, test results may be affected by the conditions in which the test was shipped to the laboratory.

Results may also be affected by the timing of the test. For example, if you are tested on the day you were infected, your test result is almost guaranteed to come back negative, because there are not yet enough viral particles in your nose or saliva to detect. The chance of getting a false negative test result decreases if you are tested a few days after you were infected, or a few days after you develop symptoms.

Generally speaking, if a test result comes back positive, it is almost certain that the person is infected.

A negative test result is less definite. There is a higher chance of false negatives with antigen tests. If you have a negative result on an antigen test, your doctor may order a PCR test to confirm the result.

When To Consider Further Influenza Testing

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Consider sending respiratory specimens for influenza testing by viral culture or RT-PCR to confirm results of an RIDT when:

  • A patient tests negative by RIDT when community influenza activity is high and laboratory confirmation of influenza is desired.
  • A patient tests positive by RIDT and the community prevalence of influenza is low, and a false positive result is a consideration.
  • A patient has had recent close exposure to pigs or poultry or other animals and novel influenza A virus infection is possible See Avian Influenza: Information for Health Professionals and Laboratorians for more information.

Hospitalized patients

Detection of influenza virus infection and prompt implementation of infection prevention and control measures is critical to prevention of nosocomial influenza outbreaks. When there is influenza activity in the community, clinicians should consider influenza testing, including viral culture, for patients who develop signs and symptoms of influenza while they are in a health care facility. This should be done as part of a broader surveillance strategy for influenza as discussed in Prevention Strategies for Seasonal Influenza in Heath Care Settings.

Suspected influenza institutional outbreaks

Influenza Surveillance

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How Do I Know If I Need To Get A Flu Test

If you experience any of the following flu symptoms, it might be a good idea to get a flu test:

  • Fever or feeling like you have a fever

  • Chills

  • A runny or stuffy nose

  • Muscle pain

  • Feeling tired

  • Vomiting or diarrhea more common in kids than adults

Its important to know that everyones flu symptoms are different. You may have some or all of these. But typically, flu symptoms come on quickly .

When Are People With Covid Most Contagious

The CDC says that its guidelines were updated to reflect growing evidence that suggests transmission of COVID-19 often occurs one to two days before the onset of symptoms and during the two to three days afterward.

For those without symptoms, CDC guidance states they are considered contagious at least two days before their positive test.

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Google’s Flu Tracker Suffers From Sniffles

The study tracked nearly 5,500 people across England over six flu seasons between 2006 and 2011, including the 2009 H1N1, or swine flu, pandemic. Researchers drew blood samples before and after each season from each participant to check for signs of the infection.

They then contacted each household every week to check for cough, cold, sore throat or flu-like illnesses. Those who reported these symptoms then submitted nasal swabs to test for influenza and other respiratory illnesses.

Roughly 1 in 5 unvaccinated people was infected with the flu virus each winter, the study found, but only a quarter of those people showed any symptoms of the infection. And only 17 percent of those infected were sick enough to see a doctor.

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