Common Blood Tests And How Long It Takes To Get Results
Some of the more common blood tests a doctor may order include:
- Complete blood count .This test measures the presence of 10 cell types in the white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Examples of these results include hematocrit, hemoglobin, red blood cell count, and white blood cell count. CBC results are usually available to your doctor within 24 hours.
- Basic metabolic panel.This test measures common electrolytes in the blood as well as other compounds. Examples include calcium, glucose, sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, chloride, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine. You may be asked to fast for a certain period of time before having your blood drawn. These results are also typically sent to your doctor within 24 hours.
- Complete metabolic panel. This blood test measures all the factors mentioned in the test above as well as two protein tests, albumin and total protein, as well as four tests of liver function. These include ALP, ALT, AST, and bilirubin. A doctor may order this more comprehensive testing if they wish to understand more about your liver or kidney function. Theyll usually receive your results within one to three days.
- Lipid panel. Lipid panels measure the amount of cholesterol in the body. This includes high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein . Your doctor should receive results from the lab within 24 hours.
Inpatient Vs Outpatient Blood Testing
Location can play a factor into how fast youll get your results back. For example, going to a place where theres an on-site laboratory may get you results more quickly than if your blood has to be sent to another laboratory. Specialty tests for rare conditions often need to be sent to specific laboratories.
According to Regional Medical Laboratory, most in-hospital results can be obtained within three to six hours after taking the blood. Sometimes blood drawn at other, non-hospital facilities can take several days to get results.
If youre hoping to receive blood test results as quickly as possible, some tips to do this can include:
- Ask to have blood drawn at a location where theres an on-site laboratory.
- Ask if there are quick test options for a particular test, such as an H and H for anemia.
- Ask if the results can be sent to you via a web portal.
- Ask if you can wait at the medical facility until results are available.
Sometimes, how quickly the blood tests take depends on how common the blood test is. Blood tests performed more often, such as a CBC or metabolic panel, are usually available more quickly than tests for rare conditions. Fewer laboratories may have the testing available for these conditions, which could slow results.
You Don’t Actually Have Influenza
If your rapid test comes back negative, it is possible that you do not have influenza. Flu-like illnesses can be caused by other viruses that cause more severe symptoms than a cold. Viruses such as adenovirus, coronavirus, parainfluenza, and respiratory syncytial virus can cause all of the miserable flu symptoms, but do not respond to antiviral medications that are effective against influenza.
While these viruses can certainly leave you feeling awful for a few days, they are less likely than influenza to lead to serious complications, secondary infections, or death.
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What To Do If You Think You Have The Flu Covid
Yes, its possible to test positive for the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, but experts say the chances of having a coinfection are very, very low. If you find yourself experiencing any of the symptoms discussed in this article, heres a game plan for how to quickly determine a diagnosis.
- Talk to your doctor. If youre coming down with a telltale sign of COVID-19 or the flu, seek medical care. Experts say its a good idea to put on a mask and self-isolate from your family if you have symptoms, to play it safe.
- Get tested. Experts agree that its important to be tested as quickly as possible for COVID-19 and flu. Heres some good news: The nose swab can be used to test for both COVID-19 and the flu. Schedule an appointment with your doctor or local health clinic, or visit an urgent care center where tests should be available.
- Start treatment. After a diagnosis, move forward with the appropriate treatment. For the flu, the gold standard is an antiviral drug that your doctor might prescribe which helps to lessen the severity of symptoms and shorten duration of the illness. For milder cases of COVID-19, most people can recover at home by monitoring their symptoms, resting, and drinking fluids.
If you are having trouble breathing, persistent pain, chest pressure, new confusion, an inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face, seek emergency medical care immediately.
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.
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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.
How Long Do Results Take From A Pcr Covid Test
Most people typically get their result the next day, but it can take up to three days.
NHS Test and Trace figures show around 95 per cent of people get a result in 24 hours if they are tested under Pillar 1, which covers places like hospitals and outbreak spots.
But around 60 per cent of those tested at large drive-through centres, under Pillar 2, get their result back in 24 hours.
The figure is lower for those that do their test at home.
The turnaround time has historically fluctuated depending on the Covid outbreak at the time.
For example, results may take longer to come back during very busy periods or peaks of waves because labs are swamped with tests.
Usually the result is sent to you via text or email when it’s ready. If you have the NHS Covid-19 app, the result might come to you that way.
If you do not get your results by day six, then call 119. Calls to 119 are free from a landline or mobile phone. Lines are open from 7am to 11pm.
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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.
What Does The Test Result Mean
A positive flu test means that the affected person most likely has influenza A or B, and treatment with antiviral medication may be prescribed to minimize symptoms. However, it may not tell the healthcare practitioner which strain of influenza is causing the infection, how severe the symptoms are likely to be, or whether or not a person may experience any secondary complications.
A negative influenza test may mean that the person has something other than influenza, that the test is not detecting the influenza strain, or that there is not sufficient virus in the specimen to allow it to be detected. This may be due to either a poor specimen collection or because a person has had the flu for several days and less virus is being shed. New strains of influenza may be present that diagnostic tests cannot reliably detect.
Some rapid tests can further identify the subtypes of influenza A, such as H1N1, and some identify other respiratory viruses, such as RSV.
Viral cultures, if positive, identify the virus present. If the virus present is influenza, further tests can be performed to determine which strain is present and its susceptibility to antiviral agents.
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What Is The Incubation Period For Covid And How Long Are You Contagious
“A person with COVID-19 is considered infectious starting two days before they develop symptoms, or two days before the date of their positive test if they do not have symptoms,” according to the CDC.
Regardless of symptoms, those who test positive are advised to take specific precautions for at least 10 days.
“Lets say somebody is diagnosed with COVID and they are in a setting during a time that they might be infectious, we know that with COVID, for the first five days you need to be isolated because you can definitely be spreading COVID at that point,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said during a Facebook Live last month. “And then you need to be out in day six-10 in that mask.”
What Do The Results Of A Flu Test Mean
- Positive result: A positive result means that the test detected influenza viral antigen or RNA.
- Negative result: A negative result means that the test didnt detect any influenza viral antigen or RNA.
- Invalid result: If your test reveals an invalid result, it means there was an error in the testing. This could mean an issue with the sample collection or the test itself. Youll need to take another test.
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So What Should You Do After A Positive Flu Test
If your flu test is positive, your doctor will likely report the case to the state. “It’s really important this year to get a sense of how many people are infected,” says Dr. Pierre.
Your doctor will also decide whether or not you need treatment. The only treatment for influenza, Dr. Mahoney says, is the antiviral drug Tamiflualso called oseltamivirwhich can reduce the duration of symptoms and prevent serious side effects, but Mahoney says it’s only effective within the first 4872 hours of symptoms. So if you have flu symptoms, it’s always a good idea to get tested by a medical provider as soon as you notice them, who can then decide if you need treatment.
While anyone can take Tamiflu, doctors often prescribe it for patients who are at higher risk of severe illness or hospitalization from influenza, such as kids under age two and adults over age 65. “We may even treat those patients if they don’t test positive for flu,” Dr. Mahoney says.”
In general, Dr. Pierre says, patients tolerate Tamiflu well, but some people experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches as side effects.
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What Is A Pcr Covid Test
PCR tests are the gold standard and are sent off to a lab to be properly processed – unlike lateral flow tests that can be completed at home in less than an hour.
PCR swabs can be taken at a drive-through centre or can be sent to you at home.
It is sent to a laboratory where a lab technician looks for genetic material of the virus using highly specialised equipment.
The PCR tests are much better at finding very small amounts of the virus, especially early during an infection.
So these are used primarily in people who have Covid symptoms.
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How Accurate Are Flu Tests
Generally speaking, if your flu test is positive, you have the flu. If your flu test is negative, its possible the test doesnt recognize the flu strain type that you have. The person performing your flu test also may not have collected enough material to accurately detect the flu.
According to the American Association of Clinical Chemistry, rapid antigen tests are about 50 to 70 percent accurate, although the Food and Drug Administration has required more recent tests to make changes to improve their results.
Molecular tests are anywhere from 66 to 100 percent accurate. The results and accuracy depend upon what test type you use.
Testing specimens are most likely to be accurate when theyre measured within 48 to 72 hours of the onset of your flu symptoms.
Less is known about flu tests abilities to detect the flu in asymptomatic patients because most people seek the tests when they arent feeling well.
What You Need To Know About Dual Covid
Yes, it is possible to have both viruses at the same time.
Both diseases can spread from close contact with someone who is infected. The viruses travel through droplets from talking, sneezing, or coughing. Physical contact can also cause infection. Covering your mouth and nose , washing hands regularly, and keeping your distance from others is the best way to prevent the spread.
Both conditions can spread before the symptoms appear. If you have been in contact with someone who might have the flu or COVID-19, it is important to know that flu symptoms take about 4 days to appear and COVID-19 symptoms take between 2 to 14 days to appear.
COVID-19 is considered more contagious by the CDC however both are highly contagious viruses. Covering your mouth and nose , washing hands regularly, and keeping your distance from others is the best way to prevent the spread. Additionally, the flu remains contagious up to 7 days after symptoms appear, while COVID-19 for up to 10 days.
Older adults, pregnant women, and people with underlying medical conditions are at risk of severe difficulties from both COVID-19 and the flu. Children and infants are at a higher risk for flu complications than COVID-19. However, children infected with COVID-19 are more vulnerable to rare complications like Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. Vaccines are available for both COVID-19 and the flu.
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How Long Does Flu Last And Is It Serious
If you have flu, you generally start to feel ill within a few days of being infected.
You should begin to feel much better within a week or so, although you may feel tired for much longer.
You’ll usually be most infectious from the day your symptoms start and for a further 3 to 7 days. Children and people with weaker immune systems may remain infectious for longer.
Most people will make a full recovery and won’t experience any further problems, but elderly people and people with certain long-term medical conditions are more likely to have a bad case of flu or develop a serious complication, such as a chest infection.
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How Accurate Is A Rapid Flu Test
A rapid antigen flu test is the least accurate type of flu test. They have moderate sensitivity and high specificity.
Sensitivity refers to a test’s ability to determine that you have a disease or illness youre positive for the illness. The specificity of a test is its ability to determine that you dont have a disease or illness youre negative for the illness.
A highly sensitive test means that there are few false-negative results, meaning fewer cases of illness are missed. Since a rapid flu test has moderate sensitivity, its more likely that itll have a false-negative result and miss positive cases. High specificity means that false-positive results are rare.
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When Is The Best Time To Get A Rapid Flu Test
Theres no hard and fast rule with a rapid flu test, according to Dr. J.D. Zipkin, Associate Medical Director with Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care. Symptoms for the flu can vary from one person to the next and from one flu season to the next.
However, if a patient presents with what appears to be the flu, doctors are going to treat for the flu. This could mean prescribing antiviral drugs or other medications to help alleviate your flu symptoms until the virus has naturally taken its course.
The best utility for a rapid flu test is when symptoms are not necessarily indicative of the flu, said Zipkin, when youre trying to distinguish between the flu and another upper respiratory infection. And since the antiviral medications used to treat flu only work if you start them within the first two days of illness, its important to come in for testing and treatment right away.
Rapid flu tests, or rapid influenza diagnostic tests, are also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during an acute respiratory disease outbreak to determine if influenza is the cause, and to subsequently ensure public health preventative and control measures are in place within the community.