Symptoms of COVID, yet negative at-home test results

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 4:48 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Millions of rapid COVID-19 tests will soon be available to Americans, but if you have symptoms and your at-home test comes back negative, you might not be in the clear.

”We’re seeing that a lot of people’s tests are coming back negative the first day or two of their symptoms,” Dr. Jeff Ripperda said.

Dr. Ripperda with Shawnee Healthcare, says when using an at home rapid test, the results are not always accurate.

“At home rapid tests and the sendoff tests look for slightly different things, the rapid test is actually looking for a little protein that the virus has, and that test is just more likely to miss it. The sendoff test actually looks for viral genetic material and there’s a chemical process that’s used to amplify that material multiple times so it’s just more sensitive and more likely to get it.”

He says the best way to detect the virus is to test more than once.

“Retest 72 hours after the original test, if you get two tests 72 hours apart that are both negative odds are of it being COVID go down not to zero but go down quite a bit,” Dr. Ripperda said.

Ripperda says timing is everything when it comes to the virus.

“Like many things in life including in medicine you can have something fast, or you can have something good but having something fast and good is a bit more of a challenge,” said Dr. Ripperda.

He says if you still feel ill after a negative test the best thing you can do is stay home.

“If you’re concerned that you have COVID and you take a test and it’s negative, but your symptoms persist. I’m gonna tell you to quarantine for at least three days until you have a chance to test again,” said Dr. Ripperda.

Dr. Ripperda encourages his patients to get vaccinated and not rely on COVID-19 tests as a way to avoid the virus.

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