Coronavirus Diagnosis has to do with the identification of the nature of the illness by examination of the symptoms. Keep reading this article to find out more about it.
First detected in China in December of 2019, the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease is continuing to affect people across the globe.
Early and accurate Coronavirus diagnosis (COVID-19), a disease caused by an infection with the new coronavirus is very important if its spread must be curbed and if health outcomes must improve.
If you want to find out what to do if you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, and which tests are being used to diagnose this disease currently, keep reading.
When to consider getting tested for a Coronavirus Diagnosis (COVID-19)
If you’ve been exposed to the virus or are showing mild symptoms of COVID-19, call your doctor for advice about how and when you can get tested. Make sure you do not go to your doctor’s office in person, as you could be contagious.
Again, you can use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) coronavirus self-checker to help you decide when to get tested or seek medical care.
Symptoms You Should Be On The Lookout For
The most common symptoms that have been reported by people as regards to COVID-19 include:
- shortness of breath
Additionally, some people may have other symptoms. Some of these symptoms include the following:
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- muscle aches and pains
- repeated shaking with chills
- loss of smell or taste
Typically, the symptoms of COVID-19 show up within 2 to 14 days after initial exposure to the virus.
Also, it is important to note that some people show few to no signs of illness during the early phase of infection but can still transmit the virus to other people.
Furthermore, in mild cases, home care and self-quarantine measures may be all that is needed to fully recover and stop the virus from spreading to others. However, there are some cases that call for more complex medical interventions.
You can also read Coronavirus Symptoms You Should Look Out For
Steps You Should Take If You Want To Get Tested
Currently, the testing for COVID-19 is limited to only people who have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 which is the official name for the novel coronavirus, or who have certain symptoms, like those outlined earlier.
Furthermore, if you suspect you’ve contracted SARS-CoV-2, call your doctor’s office. Over the phone, your doctor or nurse can assess your health status and risks. Thus, they can then give you directions as to how and where to go for testing, and help guide you to the right type of care.
On the 21st of April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of the first COVID-19 home testing kit. Using the cotton swab provided, people will be able to collect nasal samples which will be mailed to a designated laboratory for testing.
The emergency use authorization specifies that these test kits are authorized for use by people who healthcare professionals have identified as having suspected COVID-19.
What is Involved With The Testing For Coronavirus Diagnosis?
According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing remains the primary Coronavirus diagnosis (COVID-19) testing method in the United States. When it first appeared in 2002, this is the same type of test that was used to detect severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
For the collection of samples for this test, a healthcare provider will likely carry out one of the following:
- swab your nose or the back of your throat
- aspirate fluid from your lower respiratory tract
- take a saliva or stool sample
Then, the researchers extract nucleic acid from the virus sample and amplify parts of its genome through a reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) technique. Essentially, this gives them a larger sample for viral comparison. Within the SARS-CoV-2 genome, two genes can be found.
Test results are:
- positive if both genes are found
- inconclusive if only one gene is found
- negative if neither gene is found
Also, your doctor may order a chest CT scan to help him diagnose COVID-19 or get a better view of how and where the virus has spread.
Are Other Types of Tests Going To Become Available?
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of a rapid coronavirus diagnostic test as part of its efforts to expand screening capacity.
Also, the FDA approved point-of-care (POC) testing devices. These devices were made by California-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid and are for multiple patient care settings. Initially, the test will roll out in high-priority settings like emergency departments and other hospital units.
Currently, this test is currently reserved for clearing healthcare staff to return to work following exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and those with COVID-19.
How Long Does It Take To Get Test Results During Coronavirus Diagnosis?
Often times, the RT-PCR samples are tested in batches at sites away from where they were gotten from. What this implies is that it can take a day or longer to get the results of the test.
Furthermore, the newly approved POC testing allows for samples to be collected and tested at the same location. This has resulted in quicker turnaround times.
In addition, the Cepheid POC devices produce test results within forty-five (45) minutes.
Are These Tests Accurate?
In most of the cases, RT-PCR test results are accurate. If tests are run too early in the disease course, the results may not flesh out infection. This is because viral load may be too low to detect infection at this point in time.
A recent COVID-19 study showed that accuracy varied, depending on when and how the samples were collected.
Also, in the same study, it was found that chest CT scans accurately identified an infection in 98 percent of cases whereas RT-PCR tests detected it correctly 71 percent of the time.
The RT-PCR may still be the most accessible test, so speak with your healthcare provider about your options if you have concerns about the testing.
When is Medical Care Necessary?
Wondering when you need medical care? Keep reading.
Some people with COVID-19 will feel increasingly short of breath while others would breathe normally but have low oxygen readings and this condition known as silent hypoxia. But, both of these situations can escalate quickly to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which is a medical emergency.
Also, along with sudden and severe shortness of breath, people with ARDS may have an unexpected or sudden onset of dizziness, rapid heart rate, and profuse sweating.
Furthermore, below are some, but not all, of the COVID-19 emergency warning signs. Some of these warning signs reflect progression to ARDS, they are:
- shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- persistent pain, tightness, squeezing or discomfort in your chest or upper abdomen
- sudden confusion or problems thinking clearly
- a bluish tint to the skin, especially on lips, nail beds, gums, or around the eyes
- high fever which does not respond to normal cooling measures
- cold hands or feet
- a weak pulse
Get medical care immediately if you have these or other serious symptoms. If you can, call your doctor or local hospital in advance, if you can, so they can give you instructions on what you should do.
Very importantly, getting urgent medical attention is important for anyone at higher risk for COVID-19 complications. This includes people who:
- are age 65 or older
- have a compromised immune system
- smoke or have chronic health issues, such as diabetes, COPD, or cardiovascular disease
There are questions your doctor is likely to ask you. Some of these questions are:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Where have you traveled recently?
- Who have you been in close contact with?
- How severe are your symptoms?
If you suspect that you have symptoms, here are some basic questions you can ask your doctor:
- How likely is it that the new coronavirus is causing my symptoms?
- What are other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What tests do I need?
- What course of action do you recommend?
- Are there restrictions I need to follow?
- Should I see a specialist?
The Conclusion On Coronavirus Diagnosis
Again, if you have mild symptoms or suspect the infection, call your healthcare provider immediately. They will screen your risks, come up with a prevention and care plan right for you. Also, they will give you instructions on how and where you should get tested to obtain a correct Coronavirus diagnosis (COVID-19).