As communities around the country are taking away mask requirements and our new normal emerging, it’s important to remember that the virus has not entirely gone away. Time will tell what our future looks like.
It’s a good time to keep a stash of testing kits in your home. If you haven’t already done so, you can order four free COVID-19 test kits through the United States Post Office by filling out this form. It’s surprisingly easy (our own staff tested it out).
What about other types of COVID tests?
Here is a quick run down:
COVID Laboratory Test
- Sample can either be a nasal swab or saliva
- Results usually in 1-3 days
- Results are reliable for people with and without symptoms
- No follow-up test required
- Common example: PCR test
COVID Rapid Test
- Sample is usually a nasal swab
- Results usually in 15-30 minutes
- Results may be less reliable for people without symptoms
COVID Antibody Tests
An antibody test (also known as a serology test) detects antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in your blood. Antibodies are proteins that your immune system makes to help fight infection and protect you from getting sick in the future.
These tests should not be used to diagnose a current infection, but they may show a past infection. This test is a good way to learn about how well your immune systems can defend against the virus. If you get an antibody test after receiving a vaccine, you might test positive by some (but not all) antibody tests. This depends on which type of antibody the specific test detects.
Antibody testing is not currently recommended to tell you:
- If you have a current infection.
- If you have immunity to SARS-CoV-2 following COVID-19 vaccination.
- Whether you need to get a booster following COVID-19 vaccination.
- Whether you need to quarantine after a known or suspected exposure to COVID-19.
The CDC has a comprehensive guide to COVID-19 testing.
See further INM resources on COVID-19:
This article is provided by the Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, partnered with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. INM’s mission is to transform healthcare in America by increasing both public awareness of naturopathic medicine and access to naturopathic doctors for patients. INM believes that naturopathic medicine, with its unique principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness that overwhelms existing health care systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain their optimal lifelong health. INM strives to achieve this mission through the following initiatives:
- Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of naturopathic medicine
- Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
- Research – Expand quality research of this complex and comprehensive system of medicine
Amy Rothenberg ND, DHANP is a contributor to INM and practicing licensed naturopathic doctor in Northampton, Massachusetts. Dr. Rothenberg is the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians 2017 Physician of the Year. Dr. Rothenberg’s writing can be found on NaturalMed.org, Better Nutrition’s Naturopathic Health Hub, Medium, Thrive Global, andThe Huff Post. She is the proud mother of 3 adult children.