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Q: What is the best time to get tested for Corona Virus?

Q: What should we do if we get exposed to Covid 19 patients?

Krishna: The first thing you should do is to self isolate for atleast 14 days.

For those who do end up feeling sick, there is still a good window of opportunity for the virus to spread, a sneaky period before symptoms arise, when people transmit this virus very well. This issue of pre-symptomatic spreading is one reason why the coronavirus pandemic has been such a tough one to combat. 

Often, the day before symptoms arise is when people pass their infections on to others best.

So avoid any social mingling, wear a mask if you have to be around others in your household, and be quiet and don't talk much if you absolutely must share space with other people (briefly) during your quarantine. At home, continue to keep a good amount of space between yourself and others. If possible keep yourself limited to a single isolated room with an attached bath room.

Once you're in quarantine, the best time to get an accurate test is, generally speaking, about a week after you've been exposed to the virus ( experts say "five to seven days after" an exposure event is the best time).

 The right coronavirus test is a nose and throat swab test that has to be taken to a lab to yield results. This is called an RT-PCR test and it is hunting for the presence of some of the coronavirus' tell-tale genes.

To administer this test, a clinician typically swabs deep inside a person's nose and throat to extract sputum - the gunk that gets ejected through coughing, sneezing, spitting, and even talking. Results are usually returned within a matter of days. 

There are newer, faster corona virus tests, too. These are called rapid tests, as they often yield results in as little as 15 minutes, with no lab work. But there is a cost to that speed: they're less precise at picking up infections.  Generally, these rapid tests are best used as screening tools (for major outbreaks, or screening vulnerable groups, like frontline workers). Positive results are best confirmed with a lab test.

Rapid tests are not, then, a passport to parties, or to end a quarantine early. 

A negative test one day does not mean you're going to be negative the next.

As you wrap up your quarantine, it's a good idea to go get one last test, just to help assure it's safe to venture back out into society.

If the first test comes back negative, it's worth getting tested again, around 12 days after the initial event, in case the virus took a while to present.

If your test is positive, try to isolate yourself in a separate room, and use a separate bathroom from everyone else. If you can't stay in a separate room, make sure there's good airflow: open all the windows and doors, so that the virus won't remain airborne very long. Good ventilation is a must in indoor spaces.

And consult a highly qualified medical doctor and do exactly what s/he tells you to do.

All the people who reside with you in your home must wear high quality masks.

And of course they too should get into the isolation phase and get tested.

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