What do I do if I have covid symptoms but a negative PCR test?
Navigating COVID-19 symptoms can be an overwhelming experience, especially when you receive a negative COVID-19 test result. COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that has affected millions of people worldwide, causing a wide range of symptoms that can vary in severity from person to person.
Not every test, especially an at-home test, is 100% accurate. COVID also has a wide incubation window, so COVID might not show up on a test even if it is present in your body. Finally, the symptoms can mimic other illnesses, making it difficult to differentiate between COVID-19 and other health conditions.
If you experience COVID symptoms but get a negative PCR test, you should first speak to a licensed doctor. Gatherwell cannot give specific health advice or speak to your individual health needs. But in the meantime, you might want to follow the following guidelines that can help you make smart choices when you have COVID symptoms but a negative PCR test.
What are COVID Symptoms?
The first step is to compare your symptoms with common COVID symptoms. Although COVID can lead to uncommon symptoms in some people, most individuals will end up with the following set of symptoms.
One of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 is a fever. However, not everyone with COVID-19 will experience a fever. Other symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fatigue, headache, muscle or body aches, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, and shortness of breath.
It is essential to note that some people with COVID-19 may not experience any symptoms at all, yet they can still transmit the virus to others. This makes it even more challenging to navigate COVID-19 symptoms, especially if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. After speaking to your doctor, you might want to consider the following next steps.
Retest for COVID in 2-4 Days
Receiving a negative COVID-19 test result can also be confusing because false negatives are possible. A false negative is when a test result comes back negative even though the person actually has the virus. False negatives can happen for several reasons, including a low viral load or an improper testing technique.
GatherWell uses tests that are more accurate than most tests available today. If you took an at-home test but aren’t sure if it was accurate, you can come to us for a second COVID test.
Get Treatment for Diseases that Have Symptoms Similar to COVID
If you test negative for COVID, there’s a chance that you’ve come down with a completely different disease. As we mentioned, COVID symptoms are similar to symptoms of other diseases. You might have a case of the flu, a cold, and even allergies, making it confusing to determine whether it’s COVID-19 or something else.
GatherWell offers a complete respiratory panel along with targeted tests, so that you can determine what is causing your symptoms.
Follow CDC Isolation Guidelines
When in doubt, keep yourself and others safe. Stay home and don’t expose others to your disease. Even if you don’t have COVID, you don’t want to pass on the flu or a bad cold.
The CDC recommends the following advice to those who test positive for COVID or suspect they might be infected. These items apply for at least five days after exposure:
- Wear a high-quality mask if you must be around others at home and in public.
- Do not travel.
- Stay home and separate from others as much as possible.
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
- Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
- Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
- Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (like trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
GatherWell is Your Go-To Testing Site for COVID and Other Diseases
GatherWell makes it easy to test for common respiratory illnesses. Whether you have COVID, strep, flu, or bad allergies, we can get you your results in a matter of minutes. Simply schedule your test online and then come visit us for a convenient swab. We come out to your car so that you can be on your way.
We’re also committed to sharing information on COVID testing and common COVID questions. Take a look at our other blog posts like:
- Are You Still Contagious After Testing Negative For COVID?
- Can I Transmit COVID After I Test Negative?
- Think You’ve Never Had COVID? Here’s How to Tell for Sure
If you have any questions about our services at all, please give us a call or visit us at one of our convenient Twin Cities locations.