Influenza Testing

Influenza Testing Questions and Answers

Franklin Primary Care offers molecular influenza diagnostic test to detect influenza viral RNA or nucleic acids in upper respiratory tract. For more information, please call us or schedule an appointment online. We are conveniently located at 225 Nassau Boulevard, West Hempstead, New York 11552.

Influenza Testing Near Me in West Hempstead, NY
Influenza Testing Near Me in West Hempstead, NY

Table of Contents:

How is influenza tested?
When can you test for influenza?
How does a rapid influenza test work?
How many strains of influenza are there?

Influenza tends to come and go every winter, affecting some and leaving others unscathed. While most influenza cases do not cause long-term or severe health complications, the influenza virus still has the potential to cause a severe, even life-threatening, reaction. As such, it is always important to take influenza seriously if you come down with the virus by monitoring your symptoms and seeking medical care when necessary. If you are unsure if you are sick with influenza, we would be happy to provide influenza testing for you at Franklin Primary Care in West Hampstead, NY.

How is influenza tested?

There are several types of influenza tests available, including molecular assays, cultures, rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs), and immunofluorescence assays. Each of these tests relies on respiratory samples collected through a nasopharyngeal swab or wash taken from the back of the nose or throat. The most common and convenient tests, in terms of efficiency and quick results, are RIDTs and molecular assays, which are also known as nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs).

Rapid molecular assays and influenza diagnostic tests take approximately 15 to 30 minutes to complete, while standard molecular assays and immunofluorescence assays take anywhere between one to eight hours for results to come back. In comparison, culture tests take between one to ten days to complete.

When can you test for influenza?

For the most accurate results, influenza tests should occur within the first three to four days of illness or when you start noticing symptoms. With that in mind, some signs and symptoms of influenza that you may experience within the first three to four days of symptom-onset include the following:

• Chills
• Cough
• Fever
• Headache
• Muscle aches
• Nasal congestion, or stuffy nose
• Runny nose
• Sore throat
• Weakness and fatigue

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should especially get tested for influenza if any of the following apply to you:

• Hospitalized
• Over the age of 65 or under the age of five
• Pregnant
• Compromised, suppressed, or weakened immune system

How does a rapid influenza test work?

A rapid influenza diagnostic test, or RIDT, works by detecting antigens, which are molecules of the virus that trigger an immune response. In comparison, a rapid molecular assay works by detecting genetic material from the virus. Both RIDTs and rapid molecular assays are conducted via nasopharyngeal swabs, which involve the collection of nasal secretions or respiratory samples by a healthcare professional who swipes the back of your nose or throat using a long, thin swab. The process for both types of rapid influenza tests only takes a couple of minutes. After the sample is collected, it is applied to a test strip which will indicate a positive or negative result based on a color change or another visual signal.

How many strains of influenza are there?

There are four different strains of influenza, classified as type A, type B, type C, and type D. Influenza types A and B are the most common strains, as they are responsible for seasonal influenza epidemics nearly every winter in the United States, commonly referred to as flu season from late October to early March. Additionally, influenza A viruses are the only type of influenza known to cause pandemics, which is an epidemic on a global scale. In contrast, influenza type C viruses are generally mild and are not believed to cause epidemics, while influenza type D viruses primarily infect cattle and not humans.

For more information about influenza testing or an appointment with us at Franklin Primary Care, we would love to hear from you! Please call us, schedule an appointment with us right here on our website, or visit our clinic at 225 Nassau Blvd West Hempstead, New York, for a walk-in appointment. We serve patients from West Hempstead NY, Franklin Square NY, Garden City NY, New Hyde Park NY, Uniondale NY, Mineola NY, and North Valley Stream NY.