Should You Take an At-Home Flu Test?
The symptoms may hit suddenly. Your body aches, your head hurts. Your throat feels like you swallowed a shard of glass. And your fever is on the rise. Is it the flu? A flu test is the only way to know if those symptoms are the sinister influenza virus. While at-home tests are convenient, should you rely on an at-home flu test when you suspect the flu? Definitely!
The CDC reports that this year’s (2019-2020) flu season has resulted in 78 childhood deaths. In total, about 12,000 people have died from the flu this year, but the CDC notes that the number could climb to as high as 30,000. Even more, reeling is the fact that more than 20 million people were diagnosed with the flu. Unfortunately, the flu season isn’t over yet.
Getting diagnosed could mean getting treated with an antiviral drug, which eases symptoms (but doesn’t cure the virus). Testing early also leads to awareness, and those who test positive for a flu virus can take measures to avoid passing the virus on to others.
While many who experience symptoms may decide to ride out the virus, others will pursue testing at a clinic or health care provider. However, an at-home flu test kit allows you to find out about your influenza status in the comfort of home…so you don’t have to take your achy body outside!
How to Use a Flu Test Kit
Flu test kits can be ordered online, and if you want to use them to test for the flu, it’s best to plan ahead and order kits before flu season hits. That way, when symptoms hit, you already have the test available.
So how do you use a flu test kit? It’s really easy! Typically, testing for the flu involves swabbing the nose for a bit of mucus. The swab is then inserted into the test and results should appear within 10 minutes.
A positive result means you have the flu! While a negative result could lead you to believe that your symptoms are the result of another virus, you also could have tested too early for a positive result.
If your symptoms continue and you tested negative, you may decide to test at home again to make sure or you may want to visit your doctor. You could still have a strain of the flu, but you could also have an infection that requires antibiotics or other treatments. Some symptoms are common to other diseases like urinary infection or STDs. Play it safe and be thorough!
What is a Rapid Flu Test Kit?
The myLAB Box flu test also is known as a rapid flu test kit. So what does this mean? A rapid test means that the test can deliver results quickly, typically in minutes. A positive result means that a virus or bacteria was detected.
Again, though, false negatives can happen with flu tests (also known as rapid influenza diagnostic tests or RIDTs). The CDC reports that “RIDTs have limited sensitivity to detect influenza viruses in respiratory specimens compared to RT-PCR or viral culture and negative RIDT test results should be interpreted with caution given the potential for false negative results, especially during peak influenza activity in a community.” So if symptoms continue, you may take the test again or check out if the symptoms may be related to other diseases, like STDs!
What Should I do if the Flu Test is Positive?
Testing positive for the flu means that the influenza virus was detected and you have the flu. Once you receive a positive result, you should take measures to protect those around you and avoid spreading the virus.
The Mayo Clinic reports that certain populations may be more at risk for the flu, including individuals with compromised immune systems, children, pregnant women, individuals with chronic illnesses, those who are obese and the elderly may be more at risk for complications from the flu.
How do you keep from spreading the virus?
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze (use the bend of your elbow)
- Don’t share drinks or food
- Stay in bed (don’t go to work or school…or in public places!)
- Wash hands regularly
Is the Flu Serious?
Those who have had the flu know that the virus is pure misery. The high fevers feel relentless, your body aches, and everything just hurts! Even if you have waited out the virus in the past, contracting the virus doesn’t always mean a week of enduring the pain and then feeling fine again.
The flu can lead to serious complications like bronchitis, pneumonia and other conditions. Don’t ever put off going to the doctor or the ER when your symptoms get worse. And don’t assume that you’ll just eventually ‘get over it.’ Thousands of people die from the flu each year; put your health first and make an appointment.
Want to make sure you have a flu test on hand at home…just to be safe? Order the myLAB Box rapid flu test today!