Could You Get a 'False Negative' Test even if You Have COVID Symptoms?

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In light of the recent surge in the coronavirus cases, people are extremely sceptical of their negative test results for COVID-19, especially when they have been experiencing mild to severe symptoms associated with the deadly virus. While RT-PCR test are considered to be the gold standard for testing, recent reports suggest a 'false negative' is very much possible.

How accurate are COVID tests?

Initially, RT PCR tests for detecting COVID-19 were considered to be extremely accurate with some exceptions. However, with the onset of the second coronavirus wave, there have been many reports suggesting that 'false negatives' are very prevalent amongst people experiencing some of the most common symptoms of COVID-19. That said, there can be many reasons behind why you test negative.

Reasons behind a 'false negative' even if you have COVID symptoms

While the current wave of COVID-19 is driven by a cocktail of mutated variants, experts believe that the standard RT PCR tests is unable to identify the new mutations, hence reflecting a negative test result.

Apart from that, it may also happen that the viral load in your body is too low, which makes it difficult to locate the infection and the reports may come back as negative.

Additionally, if your sample is not collected appropriately or the swab stick is not inserted accurately, this may also trigger a false negative result.

Symptoms to watch out for even if you test negative

During the current crisis, vigilance and awareness is key to containing the spread of the virus and also minimizing the visits to the hospital. In case you get a 'false negative' test result, but continue experiencing different ailments, isolate yourself and monitor your symptoms. That said, here are some sure shot signs of COVID-19, that you must watch out for, even if you test negative.

Loss of sense of smell and taste

Loss of sense of smell or anosmia and distorted taste are two of the most unusual yet sure-shot symptoms of COVID-19. You can either develop this condition before a fever or may experience this as the only symptom of COVID. This symptom can also remain for a long period of time and may linger on even after recovering from the disease.

Fever and chills

Fever is one of the most common symptom of COVID. Given that your fever does not subside even after having pain relieving medicines and continues to worsen, accompanied by chills, it may be a sign of COVID-19.

Fatigue

Apart from fever and cough, COVID positive patients often complain of feeling extremely tired and weak. While fatigue can be a sign of other viral infections, COVID fatigue can be difficult to deal with.

Sore throat

Many people may find it difficult to tell the difference between COVID-induced sore throat and an itchy throat as a result of common cold or flu. But if you're having a sore throat with continuous coughs and worsening fever, it may be a sign of COVID-19.

Gastrointestinal symptoms

In many individuals, diarrhea and nausea have been common reported as a symptoms of COVID-19 infections. This can lead to severe abdominal cramps and vomiting.

What to do if you test negative but have COVID symptoms?

First and foremost, it is important that you isolate yourself and avoid coming in contact with others. Continue monitoring symptoms and keep a tab of your blood oxygen levels with the help of a pulse oximeter. Next, you should repeat your RT PCR tests 2-3 days later. If symptoms persist, get a CT scan, only at the advice of your doctor or a specialist.

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