Is COVID-19 Test Painful? Why Do Some Covid-19 Tests Hurt?

  • 13 months ago
3 minute read.
Is COVID-19 Test Painful? Why Do Some Covid-19 Tests Hurt?

Different countries are using different ways of testing and have different approaches towards the coronavirus. Countries like South Korea and Iceland have already managed to test a large part of their population. On the other hand, Israel’s breath test has been found to be 92% accurate but the real picture is yet not clear. India is currently administrating techniques like RT-PCR and Rapid antibodies test to diagnose the coronavirus presence.

Increased cases have stuffed labs with samples and hence ICMR guidelines have emphasized that RT-PCR testing should not be repeated in a person who has been found Covid-19 positive through RT-PCR or RAT.

You might have been tested or must have seen how these tests work? Was it an uncomfortable moment for you too? If experienced, was COVID-19 test painful?

You may also like: How to Recover from COVID-19 at Home During Second Wave? Necessary Precautions and Post-Covid Care


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Are Covid-19 Tests Painful?

Nasopharyngeal swab RT-PCR test is the most common test that is being used globally not just in hospitals but one can avail sample collection facility right from home. During this test, a sterile swab is used to collect the sample from your nose (nasopharyngeal) and throat (oropharyngeal). The test detects the presence of particular genetic constituents or molecules like RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) specific to the SARS-CoV-2 syndrome virus in Covid-19 cases.

To be honest, nobody would like to get a swab probed in their nose or mouth! More than the pain experienced during the moment, it is the discomfort post-test that puts an individual in an awkward state.

Some people say it feels like your brain is being tickled via your nose chamber. Definitely not a pleasant experience that ends up with an itchy and fizzy feeling.


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Reasons That May Cause Discomfort During the Test

Painful or uncomfortable situations may also arise due to-

  1. Human anatomy- The intensity of discomfort varies in different people since the human anatomy differs widely. While some people may have a narrow nasal passage and some may have broader ones.
  2. Technique of the health expert - A health care expert will always try to be as gentle as possible while inserting and twirling the long sterile swab in the nose but since it is a manual process, the intensity of twirling may differ and cause irritation.
  3. Allergies- It is possible that you may have allergies or conditions like deviated septum, sinus issues, or nasal congestion that can cause breathing problems, and nose bleeding at times.
  4. Improper sample collection- If the technician is unable to fetch appropriate secretion samples, the process will be repeated and the expert may leave the swab for 10 seconds to collect secretion.

However, in a normal situation, the itchy feeling occurs because of the sensitive nerve endings that react (due to activation of the lacrimal gland) to pollution, chemicals, and swabs. This also explains why you may feel like sneezing, tears may drool down from your eyes or you may end up coughing too.

You may also like: What to Do If Tested Negative But Still Having Covid-19 Symptoms?

Forget the Pain, Get Yourself Tested

As coronavirus spreads rapidly in India making the country with maximum cases globally, Covid-19 testing has become mandatory as an entry pass in various states and public places. Therefore, here’s a piece of people who aren’t showing up, still have fear of pain and may call it embarrassing - Getting yourself tested if you aren’t feeling well and getting vaccinated if you are eligible is the only way to getting back to normal life. Pay attention to the technician's instructions, we are sure it will hurt less and if you continue to face issues, you may contact a doctor online on The Wellness Corner App via audio/video call but just don’t give up!

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