How to prepare for a COVID-19 nasopharyngeal test? And, in particular, for dependent people (children, the elderly, the disabled)?
Text updated on 2020-11-08
There are two issues associated with nasopharyngeal testing: not getting infected and not infecting others when testing. In addition, if you have to bring a dependent person (child, elderly, or disabled person), explain the test procedure to them and reassure them so that the test is carried out in the best possible way.
If the nasopharyngeal swab is taken outdoors or from a car, the risk of contamination is practically nil. However, if your test is performed in a laboratory or tent, the proximity to other people carries a risk of contamination. People who come for testing have a higher risk of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus than the general population. You must remain vigilant and follow the proper steps.
Before you go
with an addict:
- Prepare the child, the elderly, or disabled person by explaining what will happen: the people who are going to look after them will wear special protective clothing to keep everyone safe: a visor, gloves, uniform. A long narrow cotton swab will be put in his nose. You will have to look up and stay as still as possible during the collection. The nurse will then rub the inside of the nose by turning the cotton swab for several seconds, during which time she should not move even if it produces strange sensations. Also, explain that during the procedure you should only put your mask around your mouth and breathe with your mouth.
- Repeat the different steps with the child at home, in the form of a game, by making him/her wear a real mask and using for example a toothbrush as a swab (without sticking it in the nose, of course!).
- Take something to reassure the child.
- if possible, take a cloth bag that you can then wash or leave at home for a week until all traces of coronavirus have disappeared.
- Even if you are generally a fan of fabric masks, for this special occasion, choose a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask.
- Put on a visor or glasses (prescription or sunglasses) to prevent projections from reaching your eyes when interacting with people who stand too close or put their masks on incorrectly on the way to the test,
- bring your papers, hydroalcoholic gel, an extra mask in a paper envelope, just in case
At the test site
- Avoid staying for long periods of time in a poorly ventilated waiting room in the company of others who come for testing: try to stay away from others, open windows, wait outside.
- Wash your hands with your hydroalcoholic solution whenever you touch surfaces that are also touched by others.
During the test Just before the test, take deep breaths to help you stay calm.
With a child:
Take deep breaths at the same time to help you and your child stay calm. You can stay with your child during the test. Encourage your child to hold something that comforts him or her.
There, done! Now we just have to wait for the results!
General Guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States for the collection, handling and testing of clinical specimens from individuals for coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens for COVID-19. Accessed Nov 7 2020.
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 disappears after seven days on plastic and after about a day on fabric.Chin, A. W., Chu, J. T., Perera, M. R., Hui, K. P., Yen, H. L., Chan, M. C., ... & Poon, L. L. (2020). Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions. The Lancet Microbe, 1(1), e10.