I am not a squeamish person. Being a former dental nurse, having given birth three times, having had plenty of jabs and blood tests for my allergies, I am kind of weird and love medical experiences.
However, the nerves before taking my first asymptomatic covid test were surprising for me! I wasn’t looking forward to it after various people had said how uncomfortable the test is.
But the thought of turning down the opportunity to take the test didn’t even occur to me. For my safety as well as that of my family and the children I work with, asymptomatic testing seems like the obvious option.
So what is asymptomatic testing?
Schools and other public services have been given the capacity to offer their staff testing kits to use at home which can give results in 30 minutes. With the new strains which give different symptoms or even no symptoms, these quick and regular tests mean that infections can be picked up to help prevent transmission.
The type of test that is offered to schools is the lateral flow test. The principle behind it is the same as the pregnancy test which is also a form of lateral fllow test. You collect the sample and apply to the test paper. The liquid flows up the absorbant paper and markers in the paper attach to chemicals in the sample creating a line on the paper to indicate if the test has worked and another if the antigen is present.
How do you take the test?
A swab needs to be touched to the back of the throat in the tonsil area and then up the nose. The swab is then put into the carrier fluid and mixed before being added to the test strip.
Watching the liquid move up the paper was very strange as it was so like a pregnancy test and then waiting for the line to appear was almost as nervewracking as finding out about my babies!
And the result is…?
Thankfully I have now done 4 tests and all have been negative. However, a word of warning that the covid lateral flow test is only 60% effective as it relies on high levels of the virus being present so a negative result suggests you do not have covid. It is not an excuse to go and break the rules as you may not have high levels but could still have the virus and be able to transmit it. Equally, a positive result needs to be confirmed with the more reliable PCR test if symtoms are not evident.
Have you had to take a test? Would you like the reassurance of the tests or do you fear that they aren’t reliable?