Having a swab inserted into your nose for COVID-19 rapid antigen tests is not a pleasant experience for anybody, but it may be particularly distressing for children.
It is fairly unusual for youngsters to acquire an irrational dread of the examination.
Child health psychologists Kathryn Birnie of the University of Calgary and Meghan McMurtry of the University of Guelph have created a checklist of ways to assist your children in navigating this difficult time.
“It’s critical to have a strategy for what to do before, during, and after,” McMurtry told Island Morning anchor Laura Chapin.
Distribute information that is suitable for children
It is preferable not to leave any details about what will occur to your child’s imagination. Children often envision situations that be far worse than they really are.
Describe what is about to happen in realistic, simple, and unbiased words that people will comprehend.
Create a strategy for coping
This is something you can collaborate on.
Does the youngster have a favorite toy that helps them feel better? Who do they want to sit alongside?
Explain that they will have one critical task: to remain completely motionless for the 15 to 30 seconds that the test will last.
While you wait, divert your child’s attention.
You will almost certainly have to wait in line for the test, and anxiety may spike during this time.
Prepare something to occupy their attention: games, novels, or a tablet loaded with games, movies, and headphones.
Utilize a comfortable posture
Throughout the exam, keep your kid close to you, either on your lap or with your arm wrapped over them. This is not a posture of restriction, but rather one in which the youngster may find solace in your presence.
“Restraint does not assist, even though it may help you get through that specific surgery,” McMurtry said.
“You’re creating a situation in which someone is really fearful for the next time.”
For some youngsters, gently holding their forehead may be beneficial in assisting them in keeping their head steady. Click here to check some of the critical steps you may be missing while taking rapid antigen tests.
Remind your youngster of the purpose of the plan.
As part of your preparations, you informed your children of what to anticipate. Now is the moment to remind them of their responsibilities.
Consider looking up, closing your eyes, taking long breaths, and remaining completely motionless.
Discuss with your kid what they did well.
This will assist your kid in recalling what occurred throughout the exam and focusing on the good aspects of the encounter when they reflect on the experience.
McMurtry said that this method is applicable to any unpleasant but essential event.
“This is about more than COVID testing,” she said.
“It’s also about children’s confidence and comfort throughout medical treatments in general. And we want to equip them in such a manner that they feel secure, capable, and trusting of physicians and parents.”
There are now a plethora of alternatives for viral screening, including at-home rapid antigen tests that can be bought over the counter and provide results in a matter of minutes in certain circumstances. The leading physician in Chicago has emphasized the advantages of doing COVID-19 rapid antigen tests at home for rapid and simple screening.
“It’s the one that you can take home and get a result in 15 minutes,” Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, stated during a recent Facebook Live event. “It’s comparable to a pregnancy test. You immediately notice it.”
With the increase in demand for COVID-19 rapid antigen tests in Chicago and Illinois, here are ten things to know about testing at home:
1. At-home testing is classified into two broad categories. There are self-collection kits that allow for the collection of saliva or nasal samples at home and sending them to a laboratory for analysis. These are generally polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, rapid antigen tests performed to determine the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19’s genetic material.
The second kind is quick antigen testing performed at home, in which a nasal sample is taken and the patient also conducts the rapid antigen tests, which identifies certain proteins on the virus’s surface. Frequently, results are available within a few minutes.
“The benefit of (fast antigen testing) is that they are simple to administer and provide immediate results,” said Elizabeth McNally, head of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Center for Genetic Medicine. “So, if a somebody believes they have been exposed, these rapid antigen tests may be performed at home and can provide an immediate response.”
However, she emphasizes that antigen testing is often less sensitive than PCR rapid antigen tests, resulting in a greater number of false positives or negatives.
The rapid antigen tests function less well in asymptomatic patients or those with a milder degree of illness,” she said. “Regardless of their lesser performance capabilities, they may be highly beneficial.”
2. According to experts, self-testing, and self-collection often increase the likelihood of mistakes. “Individuals who do things often are better at them than people who do them seldom,” Dr. Sheldon Campbell, a laboratory medicine professor at Yale School of Medicine, said. “People make errors.”
Campbell suggests verifying the expiry date on the box, carefully reading the instructions, and assessing rapid antigen tests findings within the specified time range to minimize mistakes.
3. Schedule the exam on the appropriate day. Three to five days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 or is suspected of having it, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises rapid antigen tests.
4. Ensure that the area is clean both before and after rapid antigen tests. Ensure that you wash your hands with soap and disinfect surfaces before and after taking the sample and testing, according to the CDC, to avoid contaminating the test or possibly spreading infection.
5. Obtain a representative sample. Campbell advised that while taking nasal swab samples, ensure that the swab is inserted as far up the nose as the instructions specify.
“Strenuously swab it,” he instructed. “Scrub it all over. Don’t simply slap it up there and declare that that is sufficient.” Additionally, the CDC provides graphic guidance for self-collection of various nasal samples.
6. Many at-home exams may be administered to children; however, check the directions for minimum age restrictions. Some of these rapid antigen tests state on the packaging that they are appropriate for children aged 2 and up; verify the individual rapid antigen tests instructions for any age restrictions. McNally observed that fast antigen testing may be less accurate in children than in adults.