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You Can Actually Self-Test For Influenza A, Here’s How To Do It

You Can Actually Self-Test For Influenza A, Here’s How To Do It

Influenza, commonly known as the ‘flu’, is a highly contagious, acute viral infection of the respiratory tract.

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Are your cough and congestion symptoms of Covid-19, the flu, or another respiratory illness?

You can now find out with a single test. You can do a self-test (saliva) using a self-test kit that you can buy at a pharmacy.

The advice was recommended by Public Health Malaysia, a Facebook page that promotes a healthy lifestyle with tips and guidelines on how to prevent and deal with illness.

Some test kits can detect both Covid-19 and Influenza at the same time.

You can select from a list of test kits that have been approved by MDA.

Some test kits can detect both influenza A/B and Covid-19. (Pix: MKN)

If the test produces two lines in the Flu A/ Flu B section, it means a positive result for influenza.

Symptoms of influenza may be worse than Covid-19 because you could experience a high fever of above 38°C along with mild to severe cough, and sneezing.

If you have symptoms, avoid going to crowded public places.

Children should not be sent to school if they’re not feeling well: if symptoms persist, get a medical check.

How to Use the Influenza Test Kit

The Influenza A+B Rapid Test cassette (Swab/Nasal Aspirate) qualitatively detects the presence of Influenza A and/or Influenza B antigen.

It relies on a nasopharyngeal swab, throat swab, or nasal aspirate specimens, providing results within 15 minutes.

The test uses antibodies specific for Influenza A and Influenza B to selectively detect Influenza A and Influenza B antigens in the nasopharyngeal swab, throat swab or nasal aspirate specimens.

  1. Remove the test cassette from the sealed foil pouch and use it as soon as possible. Best results will be obtained if the assay is performed immediately after opening the foil pouch.
  2. Place the Extraction Tube in the workstation. Hold the extraction reagent bottle upside down vertically. Squeeze the bottle and let the solution drop into the extraction tube freely without touching the edge of the tube. Add 10 drops of extraction reagent (Approx. 400ul) to the Extraction Tube. See illustration 1.
  3. Place the swab specimen in the Extraction Tube. Rotate the swab for approximately 10 seconds while pressing the head against the inside of the tube to release the antigen in the swab. See illustration 2.
  4. Remove the swab while squeezing the swab head against the inside of the Extraction Tube as you remove it to expel as much liquid as possible from the swab. Discard the swab per the biohazard waste disposal protocol. See illustration 3.
  5. Fit the dropper tip on top of the extraction tube. Place the test cassette on a clean and level surface. See illustration 4.
  6. Add three drops of the solution (approx.120ul) to the sample well and start the timer.
  7. Wait for the coloured line(s) to appear. Read the result in 15 minutes. Do not interpret the result after 20 minutes.

Still Under Control

Cases of Influenza-Like Diseases (ILI) in the country are currently under control, although there are several clusters involving boarding schools detected, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said the public, especially parents, do not have to worry as the disease is a common infection and will arise from time to time.

READ MORE: Subang Boarding School Forced To Close After Students Fell Ill, Could Be Influenza A

Patients would need monitoring and isolation only.

Khairy said the influenza cases would increase from time to time because the Movement Control Order (MCO) had been lifted.

He explained that if the case of the disease is at an alarming level, certain measures will be implemented as soon as possible.

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