Can I be tested for flu or RSV at home?

Can I be tested for flu or RSV at home?

(NEXSTAR) – The country looks collective fighting a multitude of viruses right now, with the flu tearing through communities and RSV full of hospitals with sick, young patients.

So, if you’re one of the many sick Americans right now and have already tested negative for COVID-19, you may be wondering what exactly you have — is it the flu, RSV, or just a common cold?

Unfortunately, testing for influenza and RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is not as convenient as a rapid test for COVID-19, but there are still a number of options. RSV is a common cause of cold-like symptoms that can be serious in infants and the elderly.

“There are currently no complete home tests for influenza or RSV,” James McKinney, a spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), told Nexstar.

That’s a shame for people who get the flu, since existing antiviral drugs work best when taken early, one or two days after symptoms appear, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Although you may not be able to get results at home, there is an at-home test kit from Labcorp The FDA approved emergency use earlier this year. You can be tested for COVID-19, influenza and RSV by taking a swab yourself and sending the kit to a laboratory for analysis. For those who are uninsured or don’t meet the criteria for the $0 down payment option, the price is a hefty $169.

According to McKinney, there are also “a handful of home tests for influenza/COVID,” if not RSV. CVS also offers in-store flu testing at its Minute Clinic locations.

If you’re determined to find out what you have after you experience symptoms, health care providers at hospitals and emergency centers can test for both the flu and RSV.

A ‘triple epidemic’ is sweeping the US

The U.S. flu season is getting worse as health care providers are already scrambling to treat waves of RSV patients — many of them pediatric cases — requiring hospitalization.

While the CDC said Monday that there may be reason to hope that the RSV cases are leveling in parts of the country, the same cannot be said for the flu.

Health officials said Friday that 7.5% of outpatient visits to the doctor last week were for flu-like illnesses. That’s as high as the peak of the 2017-18 flu season. and more than any season since.

“It turns out that cold weather and gathering indoors is good for respiratory viruses and bad for symptoms,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing Monday. “But what I would say is, you know, there are other pathogens out there, we want to make sure we’re on top of the ones that people can do something about, which is vaccine prevention, flu and COVID, for sure. And then intervention with antiviral drugs, again, flu and COVID.”

The annual winter flu season usually doesn’t start until December or January, but this one started early and was complicated by the simultaneous spread of other viruses.

Measuring traffic in doctor’s offices is based on reports of symptoms such as cough and sore throat, not on laboratory-confirmed diagnoses. Therefore, it can also include other respiratory diseases.

CDC officials estimate that there have been at least 8.7 million cases, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths from the flu this year, including 14 pediatric deaths.

dr. Walensky also addressed COVID-19, which so far has not seen an abnormally high infection rate, but is starting to grow.

“Last week, we began to see an unfortunate and expected increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations nationally after the Thanksgiving holiday,” Walensky said. “This increase in cases and hospitalizations is particularly concerning as we enter the winter months when more people are congregating indoors with less ventilation.”

#tested #flu #RSV #home

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