What Is the Covid-19 Test Really Like?

Updated: Sep 12, 2020

Ever since I first heard horror stories about the Covid-19 nasal swab test back in March, I had been terrified of getting the test done myself.

I had been told by people who experienced it firsthand, as well as by the Internet, that the test involved a 6-inch cotton swab being shoved all the way up into your nasal passage to the back of your throat, and then it being wiggled around for 15 seconds before repeating on the other side.

I heard things like, “if it doesn’t make you cry, they didn’t do it right” and “it’s supposed to hurt.”

Worst of all, I knew I would inevitably be getting the Covid-19 test at some point, due to the fact that I’m expecting and will have to be tested once I’m admitted to the hospital for delivery.

Little did I know back in March that I would end up needing to be tested for Covid-19 months before even going into the hospital for delivery. Just a few days ago, at seven months pregnant, I started having some possible mild symptoms of the Coronavirus, so my midwife recommended that I get tested.

Going into my testing, I envisioned having to endure the pain of a 6-inch nasal swab being shoved up my nose on both sides and making me cry. The thought of this made me want to cancel the test, even though I knew that it would be the best thing for me and my baby to know whether I have Covid-19 or not.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought about avoiding the nasal swab test altogether because of the bad wrap it’s gotten.

But I’m here to tell you not to worry - my experience with the Covid-19 test was so much different than I had expected. It wasn’t painful at all!

When I pulled up in my car and rolled down my window to be tested. I told the technician that I’m a big baby about stuff like this. I imagine that he smiled, although I couldn’t really tell because his face was obviously hidden with a mask.

He told me that this spring, when testing was first getting started, the Covid-19 test did involved shoving that dreaded 6-inch swab all the way up your nose to the back of your throat and making you cry and all that terrible stuff you hear about. But NOW THE TEST IS DIFFERENT!

Now, the swab only has to be wiggled around at the entrance to your nostril, not way up in your nasal cavity. When he did the test, I barely felt it. It was super easy and done very quickly. No pain, no tears, no need to fear after all.

I can’t guarantee that all hospitals and testing centers are using this new and improved form of the test. From scouring the Internet on the night before my test, it seemed to me that some places were still using the more invasive type of test.

However, just know that there is at least hope that you can get tested with this newer, less invasive version of the Covid-19 test! My hospital system, Prevea, is using this easier-to-handle version, which means it’s likely that if you need to get tested, you can find a location that offers it, too.

The moral of the story is don’t avoid getting tested for Covid-19 out of fear of the test. There’s no reason to fear, since there is a less invasive method of testing out there. Plus, it’s your duty to do what you can to help stop the spread of Covid-19, both for your own health and for the good of the general public.

Check out this CDC link to learn about symptoms of Covid-19 and whether you may need to be tested. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

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