If you're feeling sick, it can be frustrating to see a negative COVID test result.
Some people say they only get an accurate COVID test result if they swab their feces.
We asked experts about this approach.
If you have COVID, there are plenty of reasons a standard nose swab test may not turn positive.
Maybe you tested too early. Maybe your viral load is so low it isn't detectable. Maybe you have some other wintry viral illness. Or, maybe you just didn't get the testing procedure quite right.
But some people who test negative for COVID aren't taking no for an answer.
Recently, some social media users feeling sick and testing negative on nose and throat tests say they're turning their swabs on their other end. By testing their own stool, they're finally getting positive COVID results, right out of the toilet.
Yes, there is COVID in your stool
It's true that COVID, like many illnesses, can be tracked through our poo, but experts agree it's a bad practice to use home test kits that way.
"While we use stool on a population level, the individual-level implications are unclear," public health expert Katelyn Jetelina, who runs the popular "Your Local Epidemiologist" newsletter, told Business Insider.
First, COVID can linger in your poop long after you've recovered. One 2022 study suggested that about 13% of people who'd had COVID were still shedding the virus in their stool four months later, long past when their nose and throat swabs turned negative.
In other words, it's entirely possible to test positive for COVID via a poop sample even if you're COVID-negative. You may actually have some other active viral illness, and are simply still shedding a little COVID in your poop from a coronavirus infection you had many moons ago.
It is also possible to have a very mild COVID infection, so mild as to be undetectable on a rapid test. This may be more likely if you've built up immunity through a recent COVID infection or vaccine. While this probably means you are less infectious to others, it's not an iron-clad guarantee you won't transmit your illness to someone else who's vulnerable.
COVID tests are still not very precise
"This rumor is an underlying signal that people want and need better tools," Jetelina said.
Reliable, affordable, and precise tools that can tell us exactly what kind of infection we have, whether it's COVID, the flu, RSV, or something else, are still a dream.
But the bottom line still remains: if you feel sick, you probably are. Basic, old-school precautions like good handwashing, isolation (when possible), masking up if you have to be in close quarters with others, and allowing your body some time to rest and recover are all still helpful behaviors that can reduce the impact of a viral illness on yourself, and on others.
Read the original article on Business Insider