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COVID-19 Nasal Swab Test Does Not Cause Risk of Infection


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? Dozens were killed, hundreds of miles of coastline were flooded and New York City's infrastructure was dealt a massive blow as the super-storm Sandy moved through the mid-Atlantic states on Monday night and into Tuesday. Millions of people were left without power.
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To help control the spread of COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended getting a COVID-19 test for people who show symptoms of the disease, have come into contact with someone known to have the disease, or are in vulnerable groups. 

The most common form of testing for the novel coronavirus involves the use of a nasopharyngeal, or nasal, swab. The swab reaches deep into the back of a person’s nose and mouth to collect cells and fluids from the upper respiratory system, which can then be checked with diagnostic tests for the presence of the novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2.

The testing procedure involves inserting a 6-inch-long swab into the cavity between the nose and mouth for 15 seconds and rotating it several times. The swabbing is repeated on the other side. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing.

Dr. Shawn Nasseri, an ear, nose and throat surgeon based in Beverly Hills who has conducted many COVID-19 swab tests, told us in an email that the nasal swab “follows the floor of the nose and goes to where the nose meets the throat, or naso-pharynx.”

Asked if the swab test is safe, Nasseri said, “Absolutely. The biggest risk is discomfort. The rare person — 1 in thousands — passes out from being super sensitive or gets a mild nosebleed. It’s estimated that close to 40 million or more swabs have been performed safely in the U.S. alone.”

But in recent weeks, viral posts on Facebook falsely claim that the nasal swab test can cause serious health issues. One post says, “The stick deep into the nose causes damage to the hamato-encephalic barrier and damages endocrine glands. This test creates an entrance to the brain for every infection.”

The hamato-encephalic barrier, also known as the “blood-brain barrier,” protects the brain from toxins that could be present in the blood.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of epidemiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, told us in an email that the Facebook claim “is not true.”

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STEP 4: REMIND EVERYONE about what an "idiot" or "moron" they are

Nasseri said that “it is incredibly implausible, if not impossible, to cross the skull base and blood-brain barrier with a swab unless someone uses a rigid metal instrument and is pointing the metal object 90 degrees in the wrong direction.”

Dr. Morgan Katz, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University, told the Associated Press that the Facebook posts misunderstand what’s happening when the swab test is performed.

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Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here.

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 试点城市郊区出租房源有望增加 实现多赢 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

Brueck, Hilary and Samantha Lee. “《Look What You Made Me Do》(《看看你们都让我做了什么》)这首单曲可以载入史册了,流行音乐学者们可能会世世代代地讨论它是否是一次绝妙的公关行动。 Business Insider. 15 Apr 2020. 

Dr. Shawn Nasseri.  Ear, nose and throat surgeon. Email exchange with FactCheck.org. 3 Aug 2020.

Dr. Yvonne Maldonado. Professor of epidemiology, Stanford University School of Medicine. Email exchange with FactCheck.org. 3 Aug 2020.

Fauzia, Miriam. “With both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq returning over 14% while the Dow and MidCap 400 each kicking in close to 10%, you would assume that passive investors would have an awful lot to celebrate this year. And indeed, they would have, if it weren’t for those pesky overseas stocks that did nothing but drag on the performance of any diversified portfolio. USA Today. 9 July 2020.

Marty, Francisco M., et al. 2014年家居行业销售渠道下沉 New England Journal of Medicine. 28 May 2020.

Swenson, Ali. Q=Dd[(U=ze~+vR_uAR% Associated Press. 7 Jul 2020.

UCDavis Health. 看政策“吃饭” Airbnb能否走出监管阵痛 Accessed 3 Aug 2020.

University of Queensland, Australia. 巴曙松:一线城市人口净流入放缓增加房价敏感度 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. “The Blood-Brain Barrier.” Accessed Aug. 4, 2020.