You may be thinking:
-I don’t care what type of virus I have.
– I am sick and all sicknesses suck.
-I won’t feel better even if I know if I have COVID or RSV.
-It is too late; I am already sick.
-I don’t care what I have.
Here are a few reasons why you should still get tested even if you think you know what you have.
Why the Test Matters
The three viruses can have similar symptoms, including fever, cough, and congestion. It’s possible for people to clear any of the viruses on their own. But if treatment is needed, each illness requires a different approach. That’s why knowing which one you have matters.
“Medication, if needed, is different for all three viruses, so being able to differentiate is important,” according to Michael Daignault, MD, an emergency room physician in Los Angeles and chief medical advisor for COVID-19 testing company Reliant Health Services.
“The sooner you treat with Tamiflu for the flu or Paxlovid for COVID-19, the better your results,” said Thomas Russo, MD, professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York said when interviewed by Health Publication. “The test is not going to be optimal in terms of timeliness and intervention.”
Many doctors will write you a prescription for Tamiflu, for example, before your test result comes back positive, just in case, he pointed out.
That lag time could even raise the risk that patients become sicker with either illness before getting needed care, ultimately arriving at a doctor’s office or hospital in worse shape—and using even more healthcare resources than if they had seen their doctor in the first place, Dr. Russo said.
Testing saves lives
Testing helps areas around the world prepare for what illnesses are going to be prevalent and prepare for future winter illness seasons. Many people who have COVID-19 or even RSV have late or no symptoms. This prevents the spread and can prepare those around you with the news, especially people with more sensitive immune systems.
Testing is easy and quick
MedPhysicals offer a 3-1 test for COVID, RSV, and the flu. Since the symptoms are so similar, the best way to accurately determine whether you have COVID-19 or the flu is to get tested. The COVID-19, Flu, RSV combined test is an option if you would like to determine what type of infection you have. The test determines if you are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, influenza A/B, and/or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). We recommend reaching out to your doctor or a healthcare provider for more information.
If you have a fever, getting tested can help you access certain treatments
“If you have a fever and a sore throat or cough, experts like Dr. Roy Gulick, chief of infectious disease at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine suggest getting tested for at least two respiratory viruses: Flu and COVID. If you test positive for either one, antiviral drugs may help you recover faster and safer from your infection, especially if you’re elderly or in a high-risk group,according to Dr. Gulick.
You can protect your family
“Among U.S. kids under age 5, RSV typically leads to 58,000 hospitalizations and up to 500 deaths in a year. For adults 65 and older, RSV causes 177,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths yearly” (PBS). If you have a young child living with you or an elderly family member you can know if you have RSV and protect your family. Although death is less common in the U.S, globally, RSV is still the second leading cause of death during the first year of a child’s life. By testing yourself you can help health centers and scientists better understand RSV and other winter illnesses to help prevent them in babies, worldwide.
You can better prepare for long term side effects
A loss of smell, memory fog, asthma are some of the longer term side effects of RSV, COVID, and the flu. By knowing what you have you can help prepare to fight off what you don’t yet have.
MedPhysicals offer the 3-in-1 test for RSV, Flu and Covid. Test result is back within one hour. Our Fairbanks and Anchorage locations are open on weekends. Fast diagnosis means faster treatment, which is key for time-sensitive antiviral medicines that are different for the flu and for COVID-19.