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Coronavirus Tests at Home – Can You Screen Yourself for Covid-19?

You can’t miss the developments about the coronavirus, it’s front-page news, it features across all television broadcasts and there are signs relating to it just about everywhere.

Image of a virus cell

Staying up to date with the latest developments is essential, but if you suspect you may be infected or are worried you might be and currently have no symptoms, can you test yourself at home?

Coronavirus and Covid-19 – What’s the difference?

The terms coronavirus and Covid-19 are being used interchangeably but knowing the difference between the two is important.

Coronaviruses are nothing new and you’re likely to be familiar with many of the illnesses they cause like the common cold and flu as well as more serious infections such as SARS, MERS and now Covid-19.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness. However, the current coronavirus which has caused a global pandemic is a new strain which hasn’t been seen in humans before. Ultimately, this means the human population currently doesn’t have immunity against it.

Covid-19, on the other hand, is the name for the disease the coronavirus causes. If the virus enters the body it results in a respiratory illness which, in many cases, is mild, but in approximately 2-3% of cases, it can be fatal. It also seems the illness is more severe in older people and those who have existing and underlying medical conditions.

Coronavirus Testing – How is it done?

Currently, the NHS is testing for coronavirus in some suspected cases. Individuals who are currently in the community i.e. do not need to go to a hospital, who present with a cough or a fever usually won’t need to be tested but will need to follow the guidance regarding self-isolation.

However, testing will usually be given as a priority to:

  • People receiving critical care for pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or flu-like illness
  • Any patients who require hospital-admission for pneumonia, ARDS or flu-like illness
  • A residential or care setting if an outbreak occurs

The testing procedure has changed since the UK moved from the ‘contain’ into the ‘delay’ phase of the Covid-19 pandemic response.

Can I Test for Coronavirus At Home?

Testing for coronavirus by the NHS has been taking place at ‘drive-thru’ testing facilities, at hospitals or by public health officials visiting suspected infected individuals’ houses. The test is laboratory-based after swabs are taken from an individual.

At this time of national crisis it is important to practice self-care and keep yourself fit and healthy so your body is in a strong position to fight any infection.

Forth offers an at-home immunity blood test to give you an insight into how strong your immune system is. The test measures important biomarkers involved in your immune health as well as giving you vital information about your blood cells both red and white and identifies signs of inflammation.

The test should help you to prepare for the fight against the coronavirus because it will enable you to see:

  • Your white blood cell information. White blood cells are your immune cells and are your body’s defence against invading pathogens like viruses.
  • If your diet is giving you the nutrients you need to keep your immune system strong
  • Your inflammatory markers so will give you an insight into if your immune system is currently fighting an infection or if you have underlying medical conditions which may compromise your defences.

How To Get Screened for Covid-19 on the NHS?

If you think you might have Covid-19, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Continuous cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing difficulties

The current guidance states that anyone who has any of these symptoms should stay at home for at least 7 days. However, if you live with anyone else, then everyone should remain at home for at least 14 days. These measures are designed to help prevent the spread of infection outside the home. After 14 days, anyone who no longer has symptoms can return to their normal daily routine.

If, after 7 days, you still have a fever you should remain at home until your temperature returns to normal. However, it is common for the cough to last for a few weeks until after the infection has gone.

You should use the NHS 111 service if:

  • Your condition worsen
  • Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
  • You feel like you’re unable to cope with your symptoms at home

It is paramount that if you suspect you may have Covid-19 or have any of the above symptoms, you should not visit a hospital, GP surgery or pharmacy. Instead, you should consult the NHS 111 service.

More Information on Coronavirus

If you would like more information on the coronavirus, the NHS is a good place to start especially if you want to know what to do if you have symptoms or need to self-isolate. You can check the website here.

The UK government is currently holding daily televised media briefings, you can watch them on BBC One usually from 16:30. Alternatively, the UK government website is also being updated daily.

If you think you might have symptoms and need medical advice consult the online NHS 111 service.

References

  1. Public Health England. (2020). Coronavirus Testing. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-testing

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