Some People Are Testing Positive For Covid After Swabbing Their Throats
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A growing number of people are reporting that they only tested positive for covid-19 after swabbing their throat as well as their nose.
While the majority of lateral flow testing kits now only advise users swab their nostrils, some patients maintain this is inadequate in testing for coronavirus.
Some believe this is because the saliva at the back of the throat is more sensitive for detecting covid infection, especially in the early stages of the virus, or among asymptomatic or mild cases.
One woman took to Twitter this week to share her own experience. In her first lateral flow test, the woman swabbed both her throat and nose, and was given a positive result. The following day, she swabbed just her nose and her test was negative. She did a second test, this time swabbing her throat, and the result instead came back as positive for covid.
"LFT tests: Nose only doesn't work!" She wrote.
"Yesterday throat + nose (my only symptom was a sore throat). Today (after POSITIVE PCR) tried nose only (per leaflet). NEGATIVE! Same test done same time with nose + throat POSITIVE. How many people out there think they're clear?
"Why aren't people being told to test using throat too? If everyone follows the leaflet, thousands of people will be out mixing, meeting up with elderly relatives when they could be positive. We have none of the UK-listed PCR symptoms, only a sore throat. It's not laryngitis!"
And others are reporting the same, with another adding: "PSA for folks relying on rapid antigen tests... Swab your throat too! My nose was negative but I swabbed my throat and it was positive!"
While another said: "Well, there it is. Today, with the 'wrong' (i.e. cold) symptoms and after a string of negative LFTs, I finally took Twitter advice and swabbed my throat as well as my nose (no mean feat with that diddly stick). If you think you might have COVID, consider adding the throat sample."
And a fourth wrote: "My brother and I both got COVID independently, both tested negative on a nasal swab, and both tested positive when we did throat then nose."
While most lateral flow kits require just the nose to be swabbed, some also ask for the throat to be swabbed in addition. Each kit varies and full instructions should be included with each pack.
Dr Gareth Nye has explained why throat swabs may be resulting in more positive tests.
He told Tyla: "I always swab throat and nose to be sure regardless of test instructions. As we breathe in - either through our nose of throat - we are collecting the viral particles. We are supposed to breathe primarily through our noses and so our noses are very good at protecting us from invading substances. Therefore the chances are, the covid virus is taking longer to grow and establish in the nasal cavity but is growing better in the throat region as it has slightly less in the way of immune protection.
"Furthermore, the leaflets are advising to swab the inside nostril which again has less chance of collecting a positive virus.
"Additionally, there is always the chance of people not swabbing the nose correctly as the instructions are not very clear - you should be placing the swab ideally backwards into your nose not directly upwards as you nasal cavity is behind the nose not above it."