Your Rapid Covid Test May Not Detect Omicronheres What You Need To Know
Some antigen tests, including the rapid COVID-19 test made by the Abbott BinaxNOW and Quidel QuickVue brands, may fail to detect if you have omicron, according to new data released this week.
In December, Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that antigen tests , may miss omicron infections, as SELF reported.
Some, and many of the commonly used ones, appear to pick up and detect omicron quite well, Dr. Fauci said at the time. Were in the process of doing large screening to determine which of these antigen point-of-care rapid tests still maintain their accuracy of diagnosis.
We now have more real-world data, based on the commonly used Abbott BinaxNOW and Quidel QuickVue antigen tests. According to the new study, these rapid tests may not detect omicron even when you have a high viral load , according to the New York Times. In the small study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, researchers from the COVID-19 Sports and Society Working Group looked at data from 30 people who worked in a high-risk setting during the December omicron outbreak. They were tested daily, using both rapid COVID-19 tests taken via nasal swab and PCR tests taken via saliva sample. Most omicron cases were infectious for several days before being detectable by rapid antigen tests, the authors wrote.
Is It Covid Or A Sinus Infection
The COVID pandemic has killed more than one million people around the globe. With the fall ushering in traditional influenza season, medical professionals express concern that the outbreaks will continue for the foreseeable future. Protecting yourself is of the utmost importance. One way to do this is to understand the differences between COVID-19 and the common sinus infection.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the symptoms for COVID-19 appear two to 14-days after youve been exposed to the virus. The symptoms could be mild or severe depending on factors that were still trying to understand. They may include:
- Body aches
- Postnasal drip
- Tooth pain
Craig P. Chase, M.D., a partner of Oviedo Medical Research, says, For sinus infections versus COVID-19, sinus infections are usually something that youve had for a while. It could start with allergies, it could start with a cold, and then kind of evolve into a sinus infection.
How Do You Treat Chronic Sinusitis
Whether it is seasonal allergies that return every year like clockwork, or naturally small nasal passages that do not drain readily, some people find that chronic sinusitis is a part of life. In these cases, proactive treatment with decongestants and antihistamines can help to stave off the sinus congestion that can give rise to an infection.
Changes to your home environment such as eliminating dust and mold where possible and using a humidifier can all help provide relief as well. Many people who have recurring or chronic sinusitis also make use of steam therapy or neti pots to keep their sinus passages hydrated when symptoms begin. In extreme cases, having a doctor who knows your symptoms and knows when to give prescription medications may be necessary.
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Number Of People Suffering With Sinusitis Spikes As Many Going On To Test Positive For Covid
- 21:45, 1 Feb 2021
PEOPLE suffering from sinusitis are being urged to contact their GP and to arrange a Covid-19 test if necessary.
Dr Siobhan Ni Bhriain, Consultant Psychiatrist and HSE Integrated Care Lead, revealed healthcare services are seeing a higher number of people presenting themselves with the condition than usual.
She said many of them are then going on to test positive for coronavirus.
Sinusitis is a condition in which the lining of the sinuses becomes inflamed.
Symptoms include green or yellow discharge from your nose, a blocked nose and pain and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes or forehead.
Dr Ni Bhriain told the NPHET briefing tonight: “We’re seeing a lot more people with sinusitis and a lot more people with sinusitis being diagnosed with Covid, often with the absence of a temperature.
“So our GPs threshold for referring for a Covid test at this stage is anything respiratory or a temperature and cough. So a lot of sinusitis seems to be Covid.”
What Is The Function Of The Sinuses
The human skull contains four major pairs of hollow air-filled cavities called sinuses. These are connected to the space between the nostrils and the nasal passage . Sinuses help insulate the skull, reduce its weight, and allow the voice to resonate within it. The four major pairs of sinuses are:
The sinuses contain defenses against viruses and bacteria . The sinuses are covered with a mucous layer and cells that contain tiny hairs on their surface that help trap and propel bacteria and pollutants outward.
Acute sinusitis typically lasts less than eight weeks or occurs no more than three times per year with each episode lasting no longer than 10 days. Medications are generally effective against acute sinusitis. Successful treatment counteracts damage done to the mucous lining of the sinuses and surrounding bone of the skull.
Chronic or recurring sinusitis lasts longer than eight weeks or occurs more than four times per year, with symptoms usually lasting more than 20 days.
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Drinking Liquids Help Ease Sinus Pain And Loosens Congestion
Staying hydrated keeps your sinuses moist so you feel better, and it also decreases the thickness of sinus mucus so it flows out more easily, Del Signore says.
Everyone is guilty of not drinking enough water, he says, recommending people get from six to eight 8-ounces glasses every day.
Steer clear of too many caffeinated or alcoholic drinks, which can cause dehydration.
Signs That Indicate You Have A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection occurs when the tissues lining your sinuses become inflamed, swollen, and infected. Also known as sinusitis, a sinus infection shares many of the same symptoms as the common cold and COVID-19, making it difficult for you to determine whether you should treat your condition at home or see your doctor.
Lauren Dethlefs, PA-C, a physician assistant with Healthcare Associates located in McKinney, explains, Acute sinusitis is typically triggered by a cold or allergies and is self-limiting. The sinuses can also become infected with a bacteria leading to a bacterial sinusitis which requires medical treatment. Fungal infections can also lead to sinusitis.
What does a sinus infection feel like, and what are the symptoms of a sinus infection? Continue reading to learn more about determining if you have a sinus infection and about effective treatments.
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What Is A Sinus Infection Or Sinusitis
Inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose is referred to as sinusitis. Sinusitis can be caused by infection , but also can be caused by allergy and chemical irritation of the sinuses. A sinus infection occurs when a virus, bacterium, or fungus grows within a sinus.
Sinusitis is one of the more common conditions that can afflict people throughout their lives. Sinusitis commonly occurs when environmental pollens irritate the nasal passages, such as with hay fever. Sinusitis can also result from irritants, such as chemicals or the use and/or abuse of over-the-counter nasal sprays, and illegal substances that may be snorted or inhaled through the nose. About 30 million adults have “sinusitis.” Colds differ from sinusitis and are only caused by viruses and last about seven to 10 days while sinusitis may have many different causes , and usually last longer with more pronounced and variable symptoms.
Do I Have Covid Or A Sinus Infection
Although some of the symptoms are shared, there are several distinct ways to tell if you have covid or a sinus infection.
Its human nature to sometimes think the worst if you experience any symptoms in todays environment but in fact, the common cold, influenza, allergies, and sinus infections share some of the same symptoms as the COVID-19.
Heres how you can tell the difference and when you should consider seeking medical help.
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Which Medications Help Drain The Sinuses
Home remedies that open and hydrate the sinuses may promote drainage. Please refer to home remedies for information about how to:
- Increase daily fluids
- Take expectorants and pain relievers
- Irrigate the sinuses with saline
If environmental allergies cause sinusitis, antihistamines may help reduce swelling of the mucous membranes. Allergens stimulate white blood cells in the blood and tissues to release histamine into the circulation, which causes nasal congestion.
- Some of the older sedating OTC antihistamines are no longer recommended because they tend to dry out and thicken the mucus, making drainage more difficult.
- Non-sedating antihistamines such as fexofenadine , cetirizine , levocetirizine , loratadine , or desloratadine do not seem to dry out the mucosa. If nasal congestion is severe, a decongestant can be added .
Other Remedies For Symptom Relief
Staying hydrated can help thin mucus to ease congestion.
Drinking hot liquids such as tea and broth may help relieve your symptoms. Breathing in moist air may also help relieve the discomfort that comes with nasal congestion. Try breathing in steam from the shower, a bowl of hot water, or a mug of tea.
If your voice is hoarse, rest it by avoiding yelling, whispering, and singing.
Placing a warm compress over the inflamed area can help reduce pressure and provide relief.
damages the natural protective elements of your nose, mouth, throat, and respiratory system.
If you smoke, consider quitting. Ask a doctor if you need help or are interested in quitting. Quitting may help prevent future episodes of both acute and chronic sinusitis.
Wash your hands frequently, especially during cold and flu seasons, to keep your sinuses from becoming irritated or infected by viruses or bacteria on your hands.
Using a humidifier during the cooler, dryer months may also help prevent sinus infections.
Talk with a doctor to see if allergies are causing your sinusitis. If youre allergic to something that causes persistent sinus symptoms, you will likely need to treat your allergies to relieve your sinus infection.
You may need to seek an allergy specialist to determine the cause of the allergy. The specialist may suggest:
- avoiding the allergen
- doing allergic immunotherapy
Keeping your allergies under control can help prevent repeated episodes of sinusitis.
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Rare Cases Can Turn Serious
Antibiotics also can help ward off rare but potentially dangerous complications that arise when a sinus infection spreads to the eyes or brain, Dr. Sindwani says.
Complications around the eyes are the more common of the two. These complications can cause redness, swelling around the eyes and reduced vision, and even lead to blindness in a severe form known as cavernous sinus thrombosis. Serious cases are immediately treated with IV antibiotics. Patients are usually admitted to the hospital for a CT scan to see if fluid needs to be drained, Dr. Sindwani says.
Also in rare cases, sinus infections in the rear center of ones head can spread into the brain. This can lead to life-threatening conditions like meningitis or brain abscess, Dr. Sindwani says.
Before antibiotics, people would die from sinusitis, he says. But he emphasizes that such complications are unlikely. In most cases, the bacterial infection goes away, especially if you dont have underlying medical problems.
Its important to monitor your symptoms if you suspect a sinus infection. If the condition lingers or worsens, call your doctor.
How Long Should You Quarantine Or Isolate
First things first, those who believe they have been in contact with someone who has COVID and are unvaccinated should quarantine. Those who test positive, regardless of vaccination status, must isolate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Massachusetts General Hospital’s Dr. Ali Raja said he talks to his patients all the time about the difference between isolation and quarantine.
“Quarantine sounds a lot scarier,” he said. “It’s actually when you have been exposed and either aren’t fully vaccinated or you’re not vaccinated at all. You stay home even if you don’t have the virus. Isolation is when you’ve actually tested positive regardless of whether you had symptoms.”
“For either one you stay away from people, stay home for five days, and ideally test negative before coming out of it,” he added.
Here’s more on the difference between the two:
Those who have been within six feet of someone with COVID for a cumulative total of at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period should quarantine for five days if unvaccinated, or if they are more than six months out from their second vaccine dose, according to updated CDC guidance issued Monday.
Once that period ends, they should partake in strict mask use for an additional five days.
Previously, the CDC said people who were not fully vaccinated and who came in close contact with an infected person should stay home for at least 10 days.
So how do you calculate your isolation period?
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How To Treat A Sinus Infection At Home
You can effectively treat sinus infections at home with over-the-counter medicines or one or more home remedies.
Dethlefs recommends, Drink plenty of water, use Vicks vapor rub on chest and bottoms of feet, rest and sleep and humidifier. One thing I like to do when my family is sick is boil water on the stove and melt Vicks vapor rub in it. Then pour solution in ice cube trays and freeze. Add 1-2 ice cubs to bottom of shower.
OTC medicines that may improve symptoms of a sinus infection include:
- Nasal decongestant sprays help reduce swelling in the nasal passages to promote drainage flow from the sinuses. This sinus infection treatment should only be used for three to four days to reduce the risk of rebound congestion.
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays help reduce swelling and inflammation in the nasal passages without causing rebound congestion.
- Antihistamines remain particularly helpful for those whose nasal passages become inflamed and swollen due to seasonal allergies.
- Nasal saline washes and rinses help clear mucus from the nasal passages to promote easier breathing.
Your doctor may also prescribe antibiotics if OTC medicines fail to relieve your symptoms within seven to 10 days. Antibiotics are usually only prescribed as a last-resort treatment for sinus infections due to the risk of overuse, which may lead to other difficult-to-treat infections.
Home remedies for sinus infection include:
Sore Throat And Hoarse Voice
Postnasal drip can leave you with a raw and aching throat. Although it may start as an annoying tickle, it can get worse.
If your infection lasts for a few weeks or more, mucus can irritate and inflame your throat as it drips, resulting in a painful sore throat and hoarse voice. Frequent coughing and throat clearing can make a hoarse voice worse.
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Consider Using A Supplement Such As The Enzyme Bromelain
Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes found in the pineapple plant that is sold as a dietary supplement. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , you can get it as a powder, cream, tablet, or capsule, sometimes in combination with other ingredients.
According to a research published in the journal Laryngoscope, bromelain has been studied for sinusitis because it is thought to be effective in taming inflammation. A small number of double-blind studies has found bromelain improves sinus symptoms more than a placebo, the review found.
Research published in Alternative Medicine Review indicated that oral doses of bromelain are typically from 500 to 1000 milligrams per day, but some people take 2000 mg.
Although bromelain is natural, that doesnt mean there cant be side effects. The NCCIH cautions that some people experience allergic reactions, GI issues, menstrual problems, and an increased heart rate.
How Long A Sinus Infection Lasts
While the symptoms youre experiencing wont necessarily help you determine the cause of your infection, the duration of the sinusitis can provide some clues. Often, viral infections dont last that long. If your sinus infection lasts for about a week, its usually due to a virus.
Bacterial sinus infections, on the other hand, can persist for some time. They usually last for 10 days or longer. While viral infections usually start to get better after a few days, bacterial infections tend to get worse over time. Bacteria are usually responsible for cases of chronic sinusitis.
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What Is A Sinus Infection
A sinus infection, medically known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, occurs when your nasal cavities become infected, swollen, and inflamed. Fluid buildup in the sinuses can cause germs to grow, leading to a sinus infection.
Sinusitis is usually caused by a virus and often lasts even after other upper respiratory symptoms are gone. In some cases, bacteria or, rarely, fungus may cause a sinus infection.
Inhale Menthol And Camphor
Another inhaled odor that can help open up sinus passages is menthol, which is an ingredient in popular ointments that are used specifically to treat a stuffy nose. These ointments also contain eucalyptus oil and camphor, which combine with menthol to create a powerful scent that immediately relieves sinus pressure. This ointment can be rubbed on your chest and under your nose to deliver its soothing benefits. Unlike eucalyptus oil, this ointment should not be placed in the mouth.
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