Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Are the Different Types of Tests?enparents coronavirus spreads in communities, parents might wonder if their family should get tested. Here's how health care providers test for it.2019-nCoV, coronavirus, COVID-19, coronavirus disease 2019, novel, Wuhan, corona, face masks, face coverings, 2019 novel coronavirus, covid tests, covid testing, coronavirus tests, coronavirus testing, antibody, antibodies, antibody test, serology, diagnostic, diagnostic tests, tests to diagnose coronavirus, 2019-nCoV infection,infections, infectious, outbreaks, epidemics, pneumonia, child, children, kids, short of breath, incubation period, contagious, pediatric, pediatrician, handwashing, hand washing, 2019 Novel Coronavirus, 07/30/202004/12/202104/12/2021Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD04/08/20215ee7d35f-b7dd-47e5-bac2-d82568d626b0<p>As <a href="">coronavirus (COVID-19)</a> spreads in communities, parents might wonder if their family should get tested, especially if someone is sick or was around a person who has the virus. Work with your doctor to figure out whether a test can be helpful.</p> <h3>What Are the Types of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Tests?</h3> <p>The two main types of tests for coronavirus look for either a current infection or a past infection.</p> <h4>Tests for Current Infection</h4> <p>To check if someone is infected with coronavirus, health care providers look for pieces of the <a href="">virus</a> in a sample of saliva (spit) or mucus. <strong>These tests can tell if the person is infected on the day of the test.</strong></p> <p>Health care providers can:</p> <ul class="kh_longline_list"> <li>Use a swab (like a Q-tip) to take a sample from inside the nose (at the start of the nostrils, the middle of the nose, or the very back of the nose), the throat, the inside of the cheeks, or along the gums or tongue.</li> <li>Give the person a container to spit or cough into.</li> </ul> <p>People can get the test in a doctor's office or other testing sites (such as pharmacies or pop-up sites). Some areas offer <a href="">drive-thru testing</a>, which lets people stay in their car during the test. At some testing sites, people can swab themselves following directions from the health care team. There also are kits that families can order to do the test at home.</p> <p>Depending on the type of test and where it was done, results can be ready that day or take a few days or longer if the test went to a lab. Results might take longer if a community does many tests at the same time.</p> <p>A "positive" test means a person is infected with coronavirus, and a "negative" test means they aren't infected. But sometimes the test results aren't accurate. A test result can be negative even when someone has the virus. This is why some people get a second test. Rarely, the test may be positive in someone who doesn't have the virus.</p> <p>Inaccurate test results are more likely when someone is tested very early or very late in their infection. They tend to be more accurate when done a few days after someone was around an infected person or symptoms started.</p> <p>Before the test, make sure you understand the instructions. For a swab test, help your child stay still so the health care provider can get a good sample. The better the sample, the more accurate the results.</p> <h4>Tests for Past Infection</h4> <p>To see if someone had coronavirus in the past, health care providers look for <a href="">antibodies</a>, which the body makes about 2&ndash;3 weeks after an infection. <strong>This can't tell if the person is infected at the time of the test</strong>, which is why this test isn't used to diagnose COVID-19.</p> <p>This is a blood test, with a sample taken either from a vein or a fingertip (called a "fingerstick"). Results can be ready on the same day, or up to a week later. There's no home kit for antibody testing yet.</p> <p>Health experts aren't sure whether antibodies fully protect a person from future coronavirus infections. And if they do, it's not clear for how long.</p> <h3>After Testing</h3> <p>If you or your kids get tested for coronavirus, talk with your doctor about the results and what they mean for your family. Someone with a positive test is infected and is contagious. They will need to <a href="">isolate</a> to prevent the virus from spreading to others. Sometimes people need to stay home and quarantine, even if their test is negative. Your doctor can tell you what your next steps are.</p>Coronavirus (COVID-19): ¿Cuáles son los distintos tipos de pruebas? medida que el coronavirus (COVID-19) se va extendiendo por las comunidades, los padres se pueden preguntar si su familia se debería hacer pruebas, sobre todo si alguien se pone enfermo o se ha relacionado con una persona contagiada por el COVID-19.
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