My experience with nasal swab swine flu test


Nasopharyngeal-swabI was driving in morning last week and it was bit cool outside.  I wanted to circulate some air in the car and turned on the fan.  I did not realize that the AC was on and within few minutes my allergies took over and I started sneezing badly.  Then, I realized that AC was on and I turned it off.  Well, even that little exposure time to AC was enough to cause cold.  I thought it will improve in couple of hours, but my condition worsened by evening.  I took some general cold medicines and slept in the night.


cough-coldNext morning I woke with a heavy head, little fever and bit of dizziness.  I talked to my mother on phone and she instantly told me that my blood pressure was low.  I was struggling to keep myself together, slept through most of the day. In the evening, I decided to inhale Vicks vapors mixed in steam (boiled water in a pot and added Vicks Vaporub in it).  I got some relief but dizziness was still present.  In the night I took Alka Seltzer.  I put two tablets in recommended amount of water and waited for the effervescence complete and then bottoms up!  I slept through the night, congestion was less, but still I was feeling dizzy next morning.


Doctor's-AppoinmentWell I decided to seek a professional advice and started making phone calls to get an immediate appointment to see a general physician.  Lucky me! I found one doctor who agreed to examine me.  I went to the clinic as per the scheduled time.  I was taken to the doctor’s chamber with nurse and she checked my blood pressure.  Bingo, it was low, my mother was right!  It’s amazing how mother’s ear could sense the drop in my blood pressure.


The physician came in after the nurse left and she asked me some basic questions regarding my health.  I was found to be a suspect of H1N1 flu and she recommended to run nasopharyngeal swab test and a simple blood test to look at white blood cells.  The thing was physician’s chamber was on the second floor of the clinic and blood test was to be conducted at the first floor.  So, doctor recommended me to put on N95 mask, in order to go for the blood test. Shoot!


nasopharyngeal-swab-method1The nurse came in the chamber to do nasopharyngeal swab test.  She had two metal wires in her hand, which had a swab attached on the end.  She explained that the wire has to go from nostril to posterior nasopharynx (sinus), i.e. it will go through the nostril to the back of the nose as seen in the picture, one by one for both nostrils.  After the sample is collected from the posterior nasopharynx, the metal wire (with swab) is kept in tube containing viral transport medium.


Doctor has...

already warned that this test will make your nostrils bit uncomfortable and nurse repeated the same statement.  Believe me, if someone is ready to insert metal wire in your nostril, feeling is much more than “little” uncomfortable.  Nurse told me to hold the tube that had liquid and said my trick is that you concentrate on not spilling the liquid and test will be over in seconds.  She advised not to move back while the metal wire is being inserted, otherwise it may hurt more.  Somehow I got over the test, one by one with both nostrils, being on the verge of freaking out.


swine-flu-maskNurse handed me N95 masks to wear.  I was able to put it in a clip as I had researched in order to write my post on how to use a swine flu mask.  I took paper work to blood testing lab.  I was waiting for that test wearing the face mask with all the eyes glued on me.  There is no easy way to describe it, but I can not see my blood being sucked out.  In the past, I have passed out many times during that test.  I was told by the doctor that we need little blood, so it could be done by pricking your finger by pin, instead of syringe.  But, the nurse at that facility said we usually take out blood by pricking in kids, she though I should go for syringe.  Here we go, with the fear of passing out, I went with what is called a thin needle.  To my surprise, it did not hurt and the test was over in no time.


I moved back to the second floor, as doctor said we will have the results with in 15 min to half an hour.  I think it was one of the longest half hour with that mask on my face.  Nurse came in with the results and said that the test was negative, which means no H1N1.  There was a sign of relief and I was able to take off the mask. 


alka-seltzer1Again, my doctor met me in her chamber and told me that I have general flu.  I liked the doctor as she did not prescribe any antibiotic and said just rest and take Alka Seltzer and you should be fine in couple of days.  I took some more rest for couple of days and here I am sharing my first H1N1 test experience with you.  Hope to provide more details of the test in my next post.


Till then, Healthy Sneezing!



5 Responses

  1. health forum says:

    I like Nasopharyngeal swab test to check swine flu (H1N1) | Healthy Living and find the best thing from here. Thanks Friend.

  2. Karen says:

    I had the swab test up my nose for flu and I’m here to tell you that I’ll never submit to it again.

    And I’m no wuss – I had three babies with no anesthesia at all and even opt to have my routine colonoscopy while fully awake and with no sedation. Believe me, having a tube shoved up your butt is uncomfortable in the best of circumstances, but the procedure also results in some fairly serious pressure and cramping. And it takes a whole lot longer than the flu test. But I suck it up – mainly because I know I can.

    Bottom line? I can and have endured a wide variety of medical testing and procedures that are between really uncomfortable and extremely painful and I could do most of them again. But you’ll have to knock me unconscious to ever get me to submit to a flu test swab up my nose again.

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