Experts do not recommend using swallow sticks for your quick COVID test, even if some say they do it themselves.

People post on social media that they get positive COVID results after wiping their throat for a quick test at home instead of taking the recommended nose sample.

In a TikTok with more than a million views, a reporter demonstrated that when she wiped her nose for a home-fast COVID-19 antigen test, the result was negative.

But when Alison Hall wiped her throat minutes later and did the same type of test, it came back positive. She also later confirmed a positive result with a PCR test.

“The moral of the story – consider wiping your throat as well as your nose for early detection and getting a backup PCR test to confirm,”[ads1]; she says in the video.

#SwabYourThroat was also popular on Twitter, as several persons posted about testing positive for covid with a throat swab after negative nose swabs. Manufacturers, however, recommend nasal wipes, and all data on how well the tests work is based on using it as instructed. As Omicron sends the world to detect levels of COVID infections, and long test lines make it harder to get PCR tests, people often rely on home tests to see if they are infected. Sore throat is a hallmark of the Omicron symptom, and many people report that it is their first indication of having the virus.

However, experts do not support the drying of the neck – although some of them do it themselves on their own home tests. First, the FDA does not recommend using tests incorrectly.

Nam Tran, an associate professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine who oversees COVID-19 testing at UC Davis Health, told BuzzFeed News that he does not recommend drying his throat because many things can affect it, such as food in his throat. Even drinking something in advance can cause the virus to wash down and not appear on the test.

He acknowledged that it was possible that the result of a throat test could come back positive earlier. Quick tests are more likely to give a false negative early on, and that may be why people want to wipe their throats.

“It’s a biological factor, which means the virus can replicate earlier in the throat and spread later,” he said. However, it is not as simple as just using a swallow stick to collect it.

“It’s a technological factor,” he said. “How good are you at collecting a nasal stick versus an oral swab?”

A throat swab is more complicated to perform. “Technique is important because you can take a perfect test, and if you just sweat loose or light because you have a sensitive nose or sensitive mouth, you may not get enough virus for your test to detect it no matter where the virus lives.” “Tran sa.

If someone has symptoms of COVID-19 but gets a negative result on an antigen test at home, Tran said to go to the doctor or take a PCR test because it is important to test over time.

“At some point, the virus concentration rises high enough that the test will detect it anyway,” he said. “But if you are symptomatic, testing negative, out of the abundance of precautions, you should still mask yourself, you should still try to stay away from people.”

Michael Mina, head of science at eMed, said during a Zoom webinar on Thursday that throat washing for COVID-19 is still so new that many people may not know how to do it, but he hopes people will learn it.

“We know that throat swabs can work, but saliva is different,” he said. “Throat tests can work because they mix with saliva when it comes to where to put the swab in the oropharynx or cheeks, depending on how you do it.”

He said that antigen tests have always been less sensitive than PCR tests, but it is not that antigen tests do not detect Omicron, it is just that people become contagious with this variant before the virus has a chance to grow into the nose. Like Tran, Mina said that symptomatic people should assume they have COVID-19.

Mina said that it can be dangerous to dry your throat, so people should follow the FDA guidelines, but he acknowledged that the FDA must also exist within strict guidelines that sometimes have more practical than scientific origins.

“I often think people assume that the way it is authorized by the FDA is always optimal, like the distance between the vaccines,” Mina said. “The three to four weeks were not optimal, it was convenient to have the clinical trials performed quickly. But because it is the data that is given to the FDA, it is what the FDA has to approve because they have no other data to suggest anything. otherwise even if science says a different picture. “

He admitted that he wipes his throat when using a home test, but if others do the same, they should do so at their own risk.

Blythe Adamson, a health economist and pharmacoepidemiologist who works as a quantitative lead researcher at Flatiron Health, told BuzzFeed News that she believes that as soon as researchers believe that a throat swab is safe and effective, the FDA will most likely go quickly to approve it.

In a statement issued to BuzzFeed News, an FDA spokesman said COVID-19 tests should be used as authorized.

“The FDA has noticed safety concerns regarding self-collection of throat swabs, as they are more complicated than nasal swabs – and if used incorrectly, they can cause harm to the patient. The CDC recommends that throat swabs be collected by a trained healthcare professional.”

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