Flu tests check for the presence of the flu virus in a respiratory sample, such as a nose or throat swab. When your doctor detects the flu virus, they might administer antiviral medications. If you get identified quickly – within 48 hours of symptoms appearing – these treatments can relieve your symptoms and reduce your sickness by a day or two. A flu test can also assist your Somers, NY wellness center doctor to rule out the possibility of you receiving antibiotics. This is because antibiotics are ineffective against viral illnesses such as the flu.
Different types of flu tests
There are several various flu tests, including:
1. Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs)
The most frequent form of flu test is an RIDT, also known as a flu antigen test. They can detect the presence of influenza A and B by identifying antigens, which are components of the flu virus that cause an immunological response.
To get a sample for an RIDT, a doctor inserts a swab into your nostril. RIDTs produce findings in 10 to 15 minutes but are less reliable than other flu tests. Even if your rapid test results are negative, you might still have the flu.
2. Rapid molecular assays for flu testing
Rapid molecular assays are flu tests that identify the genetic material of the flu virus. They provide findings in 15 to 30 minutes and are more accurate than RIDTs. These tests utilize a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab then a sample is taken to a laboratory for examination. Healthcare practitioners also use this test for those in the hospital with flu signs.
3. Specialized laboratory flu tests
Other specialized laboratory flu tests are more effective than RIDTs and rapid molecular diagnostics. One of these examinations is reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Your healthcare professional obtains a sample for these tests and then sends the swab to a lab for testing. Also, it may take one to several hours or days to receive your findings.
How effective is a rapid flu test?
The least reliable type of flu test is a rapid antigen flu test (RIDT). They have high specificity and moderate sensitivity (50% to 70%). The capacity of a test to establish that you have a sickness or illness – that you are positive for the condition — is referred to as sensitivity. A test’s specificity is its capacity to identify that you do not have a sickness or illness – that you are negative for the condition.
A highly sensitive test produces few false-negative findings, resulting in fewer cases of illness being overlooked. Since a rapid flu test has a modest sensitivity, it is more likely to provide a false-negative result and miss positive instances. High specificity means that false-positive findings are rare.
A flu test is a simple exam that your doctor or nurse can administer to you or your kid. While most people do not require a flu test and recover from the flu within one or two weeks, certain elements can contribute to your specialist wanting you to obtain a flu test. If you have any concerns or questions, contact your physician for assistance. Call Healthy Therapeutics Medical Practice, PLLC, to schedule your appointment today to determine whether you are the right candidate for flu testing procedures.