April 13, 2021

How accurate are saliva tests?

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Ever since coronavirus hit the mainstream, there has been option doctors seemed to be using to detect the virus. Unfortunately, the nose and throat swabs aren’t liked that much because of their invasive nature. Thankfully, the news of saliva drug tests available for testing Covid-19 has been received with much joy. For starters, a proper oral fluid test takes only a matter of seconds for a sample to be collected. Another reason why the saliva fluid testing is being applied in the identification of the coronavirus is because of its affordable nature.

How it works

The mechanism of the antigen swab test is quite easy and the saliva nucleic acid amplification tests have been found to be extremely accurate. According to the recent studies, the accuracy of the results found after using samples detected from saliva is close to 83.2%. The usual nasopharyngeal tests usually come to about 84.8% accuracy, which isn’t that far off from the results from antigen swab test for covid. 

That’s why the majority of the doctors on the fore front are in favor of performing the covid antigen test from saliva samples. All that’s required is a legit testing kit and some personnel that know how to use it. Next, they’ll swab your mouth and then secure it properly before taking the results into account. The only reason why a well-trained personnel is necessary is simply because it not only makes the work go faster but also limit the chances of having the samples contaminated.

A well-trained individual is one who also knows how to handle the test kit without any fear of contaminating or breaking it. The training itself for those personnel who do not have the experience yet isn’t as difficult as one may think and it can be completed in a matter of days. But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be taken with the seriousness it deserves. That said, here are a few things that can affect the accuracy of the saliva covid tests, which also applies to most instant drug tests that use saliva.

Where to get a saliva testing facility 

Now that you are aware of the existence of saliva testing facilities, it is imperative that you know where you can get one done. But you can always get yours done very easily by having a kit sent to you and you can do it on your own. If you are considering doing so, it’s recommended that you take some time off and learn how to carry the test. 

Your main focus should always be on not contaminating the samples. If you aren’t confident with conducting the saliva tests on your own, then there’s nothing to worry about. All you need to do is book an appointment with your nearest health facility in center and have it done. Thanks to the internet, you can book your appointment online. 

All you have to do is access your hospital’s official website, fill in your details which should include your name, phone number, email, and a short description of your condition or why you need to get tested. The entire process shouldn’t take you more than ten minutes and you’ll be good to go. If the hospital has a great customer care service, then expect your answer in less than 24 hours. It could be more depending on the number of people looking to be served and given the limited workforce due to the covid pandemic. 

Pros

There are a handful of advantages associated with saliva testing. For starters, it takes very little time to prep as well as test. All you have to do is get the kit, prep it then take a swab from the subject and store it perfectly. It is as simple as that. Another huge advantage associated with saliva testing is the fact that it is affordable. 

Starting with the kit, all the way to the short time it takes to carry out the testing, saliva testing has proven beyond reasonable doubt to be more effective than most testing methods. The same applies when conducting the training. Since it’s an easy process, it takes less time and therefore costs much less compared to training for the traditional testing methods.

Another advantage associated with saliva testing doesn’t require any kind of privacy. That said, it becomes quite difficult for someone to cheat because the samples are collected right there and then. It is also less invasive as you don’t have to get a needle stuck down your arm or have your urine collected. These are some of the reasons why most people prefer this method of testing over the traditional methods.

Finally, the results are instantaneous. Once the sample has been taken and tested, the results will come instantaneously and this is a great advantage because you don’t have to worry much about waiting for the results. This allows for decisions to be made as quickly as possible thus saving time for other things to be taken care of much faster.

Cons

There are extremely few disadvantages associated with saliva testing. One of them is how easy it is to contaminate the samples. It therefore needs a lot of care if your ultimate goal is obtaining the most accurate results. In addition to that, the subject isn’t supposed to eat any food or have any drinks, doing so can contaminate the samples thus skewing the results much further. 

Fluids as seemingly harmless as mouthwash can alter the results. Unfortunately, going without food for long hours causes a lot of discomfort. Some have also been known to cause dryness in the mouth making it hard to obtain samples from the subject. Therefore, the doctors would have to resort to other methods to ensure they are getting the results they need, and that can be quite inconvenient. 

Finally, there are some s that cannot be detected from saliva therefore rendering the entire method useless. 

Conclusion 

Whenever you are looking to get yourself a saliva testing kit for covid, then you have to be fully aware of all the facts mentioned above. In as much as it has got its fair share of advantages, it is imperative for you to take note of the disadvantages as well. Doing so goes a long way in helping you identify all of its weaknesses and therefore avoiding it. 

Also, make sure you are getting tested by qualified personnel. They are the ones who fully understand how to go about the testing without running the risk of contaminating the sample. And since saliva can be easily contaminated, you might want to take the test before you have eaten anything. This way you are improving the accuracy of the sample to be taken and with that you will get more accurate results.

Covid aside, if you are looking to use the saliva drug tests to detect any drugs, then you have to understand the window process of each drug. For instance, some drugs often stay in the system much longer than others. Understanding that will give you a chance to predict how accurate your test is going to be depending on the timeframe. If you ever find your results inconclusive, then never shy away from visiting the nearest health facility for confirmatory tests.

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