Why it's important to get tested

By testing yourself for COVID you pull your weight to eradicate the disease. Unfortunately, however, there are far too many “ifs and buts” when it comes to why it is good to get tested.

Today we will take a look at those questions and concerns you may have, why is it good to get tested, and when should you do it? Keep reading and we will find out.

You may belong to a high-risk category without knowing it.

COVID spreads quickly and ruthlessly, and transmission can occur in many different ways. A common thought is that you are not at risk and therefore do not need to be tested, but this is certainly not true.

In addition to that, your loved ones might belong to a risk group, you might as well, without knowing it.

This is the Public Health Agency’s list of identified conditions that pose a higher risk when infected:

  • Organ transplantation
  • Blood cancers, existing and past
  • Neurological diseases leading to impaired respiratory function
  • Obesity (increased risk with an increased degree of obesity)
  • Diabetes (lower risk if well treated)
  • Current cancer treatment
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Stroke/dementia
  • Other immunosuppressive disease or treatment
  • Liver disease
  • Impaired renal function
  • Cardiovascular disease including hypertension
  • Down’s syndrome

Many of the conditions on the list may go undetected and cause severe complications if they are contracted. That is why it is a good idea to get tested and get the right help before it is too late.

You can be infected, without symptoms

It is not uncommon to test positive for COVID without having any symptoms. The problem is that the disease spreads unnoticed.

Although the risk of further infection is reduced when you are ill without symptoms, there is a high risk that you will spread the disease to someone close to you, and maybe one of them belong to a risk group?

If you get tested regularly, you will by certain know whether you are infected or not and can take preventive measures to prevent any further spread.

It helps the government to adapt to the disease.

When you get tested, whether you get a positive or negative result, you are anonymously logged in the statistics. And it is the statistics that the government relies on when they introduce new regulations and restrictions.

If you do not test yourself but still get sick, you do not exist in the statistics. If there then are more like-minded people, there is no opportunity for society to take timely action.

The problem then becomes obvious, the infection escalates and more restrictions will be required. For your and everyone’s well-being and survival, you should get tested regularly.

It gives more insight into how pandemics work.

Earlier in human history, we were not able to collect tests and data in the same way we now can, this makes testing important as it adds more information on how diseases spread.

COVID is contagious, unpleasant and in some cases, deadly. The world needs to collect data to better understand how COVID is spread, who is at risk, and how to best treat it. Both for the current pandemic, and possible future pandemics.

Why is it good to get tested with an antibody test?

If you have been sick with COVID or just suspect so, it is good for you to get an antibody test.

It is common for people to feel reassured after they have recovered, but it is not guaranteed that your body has developed antibodies against COVID. That is why it is important to get tested, to know for sure if you are protected or not.

Antibodies are not a guaranteed protection against further infection. However, it has been shown that people with antibodies have more protection against becoming seriously ill with COVID, and this protection lasts up to 6 months after the test has been taken. A positive test for antibodies also means that your risk of infecting others is reduced.

Want to help society by getting tested? Click here to make an appointment.


3 Myths about PCR testing

Ever since the COVID pandemic began, there has been a lot of misinformation, lies and myths spread about PCR testing. First of all, it is important to realise that people make money from spreading misinformation, as it generates a lot of clicks and advertising revenue with controversial views. Therefore, it is important to educate oneself and keep an open mind not to counteract the progress the world is already making against the pandemic.

Today we will take a look at 3 myths that often circulate around PCR.

The Public Health Agency has said that PCR does not detect COVID

False

The Swedish Public Health Agency wrote an article a while ago that could easily be misinterpreted and has added fuel to the fire of myths that PCR tests do not work.

The sentence in question is, “The PCR technology used in tests to detect viruses cannot distinguish between viruses capable of infecting cells and viruses that have been rendered harmless by the immune system, and therefore these tests cannot be used to determine whether someone is infectious or not.”

Just as the sentence reads, PCR tests cannot determine if you are infectious. However, PCR can definitely determine if you are carrying the disease. An important distinction in order to understand the real meaning of the article.

There was also a popular clip circulated featuring Kary Mullis, the inventor of the PCR test and Nobel Prize winner. The clip was taken completely out of context to spread misinformation and is about much the same thing FHM went public with.

The article in question was old and was about PCR tests to detect HIV infection, where “Kary Mullis” described it like this:

“PCR is intended to identify substances qualitatively, but by its very nature, is unsuited for estimating numbers. Although there is a common misimpression that the viral load tests actually count the number of viruses in the blood, these tests cannot detect free, infectious viruses at all; they can only detect proteins that are believed, in some cases wrongly, to be unique to HIV. The tests can detect genetic sequences of viruses, but not viruses themselves.”

There are 3 errors in this myth.

  1. It was not a quote from Kary Mullis, rather an article written by John Lauritsen.
  2. It is not about COVID but about HIV.
  3. The meaning is exactly the same. It refers to the fact that PCR tests cannot determine how infectious the person with HIV is. That is, how easily the person in question can spread the virus.

PCR tests often provide incorrect test results.

False

Both at the beginning of the pandemic and over time, numbers and percentages have been thrown around with the number of false responses that PCR yields. Aside from the fact that these numbers are often manipulated and biased, two categories determine the reliability of a PCR test.

  1. When the test was taken

A determining factor in how reliable a PCR test is depends on when it was taken. When symptoms are at their worst at the beginning of the infection, the virus’ genome ends up in the throat and nose. As time goes by, the genome disappears, making it more difficult to get a reliable result. This is why quarantine and restrictions are referred to those who have been infected, as PCR tests can give a negative result after, say, 8 days while you are still carrying the disease. If you get tested as soon as possible when you show symptoms, you will get a definite result.

  1. How the test was performed

When PCR tests first started to be used for COVID testing, it gave much less reliable test results than it now does. This is simply because the demand for PCR testing increased enormously, leading to staff shortages and stress that affected the reliability of test results. Now that the situation has stabilised and healthcare has caught up, this is no longer a problem.

It is also important to remember that no test in the world can give 100% accurate test results. Although the chance of a false result is extremely low, in rare cases, it can occur.

PCR testing is painful

False

PCR tests are relatively easy and painless to perform. In some cases, having a test swab in your throat can cause discomfort, and you may feel the need to cough, which is perfectly normal. When taken through the nostril, it may tickle and induce sneezing, which is also perfectly normal. On the whole, the PCR test is not painful at all.

Do you have any other questions or concerns about PCR testing? Contact us, and we will answer them right away.


How to help each other in Corona times

It is up to each individual to help reduce the spread of the disease. Nevertheless, it is tough with circumstances that force us to keep our distance from other people. The pandemic has affected everyone, whether it is the economy, health, or the psyche, no one has escaped unscathed. Today we will take a closer look at how to help in times of crisis.

Always take precautions.

First aid for the COVID pandemic is to always think about how you can avoid spreading the disease.

Stay isolated for at least 2 weeks if you suspect, or know, you are infected.

It is important that you do everything in your power to avoid spreading the disease. Although you may not be in a risk group, you can spread the virus to someone who is.

Avoid travelling on public transport during rush hours.

If you have no other choice, make sure you carry a protective mask.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water.

All the way up the wrist for best effect.

Homeless people need your help.

Homelessness is a problem that during the COVID pandemic has both increased and worsened. Increased unemployment and long processing times for unemployment benefits make it difficult for vulnerable people to get the help they need. Problems also arise for aid organisations, as the demands of distance and security measures make it more difficult to provide affected people with the help they need.

For society’s most vulnerable, you can make a difference in many ways, such as by donating clothes, becoming a monthly donor, getting your business involved or volunteering with the city mission.

Mental illness – a growing problem

Mental illness has always been a problem, but it is even greater now that society faces so many barriers, and people are forced to isolate themselves. Whether it is your family, friends, or a stranger, it is always important to support those around you.

It does not take much to help someone who is feeling unwell, a phone call to ask how they are doing is always a good start.

Signs of mental illness:

  • The person is often tired
  • The person behaves strangely
  • The person eats badly
  • People drink a lot or take drugs

Of course, these are just a few of the signs, and they can vary widely. But if you are worried, it is always worth offering a helping hand.

If you are wondering how to go about talking to someone who is unwell, you should read Suicidezero’s article on how to talk to someone who is unwell.

How your business can help the healthcare

The pandemic has put its claws into many aspects of our normal lives. As a business owner, you have the opportunity to make a huge impact in many ways by, for example:

  • Lending staff to the healthcare system
  • Lending facilities for vaccination (e-mail link)
  • Providing protective equipment (mouthguards, visors, etc.) when needed

If you have a staffing company, you can also help your region by registering your interest in staffing healthcare.

Here you can see Region Skåne’s list of how your company can help.

How you as a private person can help the healthcare.

The healthcare sector has and is still seeing unprecedented pressure. When hospitals are overloaded and staff have to work double shifts, your help is greatly appreciated. As a licensed physician or nurse practitioner, you can help with:

  • Vaccination
  • Healthcare
  • Other healthcare

If you do not have a nursing degree, you can help the region with occupations such as service, housekeeping, kitchen, laundry, and transportation to ease the load on the medical staff.

If you have any questions or concerns about how you can help in Region Skåne, please contact us here.


Social distancing: How to avoid infecting your loved ones.

The COVID pandemic affects us all in different ways, and the word “social distancing” has now become a common phrase when it comes to reducing the spread of the disease. But what is social distancing based on, and what does the research say about it? Today we will look at what social distancing means and how you can avoid infecting your loved ones.

What does social distancing mean?

In modern history, all outbreaks of disease in the world have been fought in part by means of social distancing. The term has become increasingly well-known during the COVID pandemic as the disease spreads very quickly between people. Social distancing is implemented when contagion can occur between people and is usually defined as a distance of 1-2 metres.

The 1-2 metre rule exists because close contact with people increases the risk of droplet infection.

What is droplet infection?

Droplet infection is something that comes through “droplets” from person to person. Most often it happens through coughing or sneezing, but it can also happen just by talking to each other. Unfortunately, COVID is spread through droplets, which is why it is important to keep a social distance and wear a mouthguard when you are around people.

What does the research say about social distancing?

Research has shown during previous pandemics that social distancing is an important part of fighting viral disease outbreaks. But while there is a good understanding of how diseases are spread, there are a lot of different factors at play depending on where it is, and what disease it is.

Spanish flu – the deadliest pandemic in modern history

In 1918, the so-called “Spanish flu” ravaged the globe. The disease spread rapidly with a high risk of serious harm or death. 50 million people lost their lives to the Spanish flu, and the world has never been the same again.

Scientists are studying this pandemic to pinpoint exactly what was effective in stopping the spread of the disease. Social distancing is often hailed as the key to keeping an outbreak from getting worse.

Many cities implemented social distancing as a way to flatten the curve, and it had very good results. On the other hand, many cities did NOT implement social distancing, and now it has been possible to study the differences in the infection, between those that did and those that did not.

These studies have been extremely helpful in the COVID pandemic, as they have been able to draw on lessons from the past at an early stage, making the spread of the disease less severe than it could have been.

How you can protect your loved ones

Social distancing is often misinterpreted as a form of isolation. Many people believe that they have to stay away from other people by avoiding all forms of contact.

The right way to keep social distancing within your family or with your friends is not to isolate yourself. The important thing is to remember to keep your distance and avoid physical contact whenever possible.

With social distancing you should think like this:

  • Follow instructions from authorities
  • Avoid unnecessary travel/activities
  • Work from home if possible
  • Avoid public transport
  • Keep your distance to other people
  • Avoid getting close to people at risk (elderly or sick)
  • Wash your hands often, especially when you get home

In conclusion, simply avoid exposing yourself and your family to an increased risk of infection.

How to reduce the risk for your family:

  • Keep track of how much you need to shop to avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store
  • Keep in touch with your relatives and family by phone or video chat
  • Do not let the pandemic affect your child’s mental health
  • Exercising at home is an important part of staying healthy

It is important that you also put some extra care in your children. Being social is a big part of growing up, and when distance and isolation become the focus, it can breed mental illness in the young ones.

Social distancing does not mean you should stop being social.

Talk often with your children and your partner, put extra emphasis on being social with your family and relatives. Feeling lonely affects us all differently, but we can all make a difference.


Covid: Things to consider when travelling

Requirements and restrictions during Covid can make it difficult to know what is needed to travel. That is why we have made a list of things to consider when travelling, so you know who to contact, what to look out for, and how to get tested before and after departure.

Different restrictions for different countries

Depending on the country you are travelling to and the means of transport you are using, there are some different restrictions you need to follow. You have a personal responsibility to travel as safely as possible, both for yourself and for others.

Personal responsibility also applies to finding out what restrictions you need to adhere to. We at Scantest are not in a position to find out all the specific requirements among different countries, as they can change quickly without notice.

The absolute best thing to do is to contact the authorities in the country you are travelling to, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Swedish Embassy. In this way you will get updated information, to avoid refused entry.

Domestic travel

The spread of the disease is difficult to predict, new restrictions may be introduced at short notice. It is a good idea to plan ahead in case there are additional circumstances that might cause you to get stranded or need to take detours to get home.

Follow the regional recommendations that apply to your destination. The website Krisinformation.se gathers information on recommendations in different regions. Stay informed and plan accordingly.

International Travel

When travelling abroad, it is even more important to stay up to date as restrictions, in the worst-case scenario could leave you stranded abroad.

Here are some sources you can use when travelling abroad:

  • Department of Foreign Affairs
  • The Swedish Embassy
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs App

Checklist for your trip

  • Check restrictions and requirements with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the embassy and perhaps even the authorities of the country you are travelling to.
  • Book an appointment for testing. Usually, a PCR test with a travel certificate is required, if so, you can book with us in Malmö and Gothenburg. If you require a quick test, it is available at any of our locations.
  • Make sure your travel insurance covers any infection.
  • Have a travel buffer in case you cannot travel home as planned.

Insurance

When travelling, it is important to check your travel insurance as there may be exemptions for countries that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travelling to.

Check with your insurance company if you need to take out a supplementary policy for travelling during Covid.

When you return to Sweden

The Public Health Agency recommends that everyone entering Sweden should be tested for covid-19.

You should also be tested five days after returning home and stay at home for at least seven days after arriving in Sweden.

If you do not develop symptoms or test positive during the seven days, you can move around freely as long as you follow the advice and recommendations that apply to everyone.

Different test requirements

Depending on the country you are travelling to and the means of transport you are using, there are different test requirements.

A PCR test is required for most air travel, and in some cases an antibody test as well.

Rapid antigen testing is required for most cross-country travel, such as from Sweden to Denmark.

Note: Requirements vary widely. You need to check what is required to entry the country you are travelling to. You will also need to bring your passport which you intend to use during your travels.

PCR test

Scantest offers the fastest and cheapest PCR test in the Nordic region. The time between sample collection and test result is rarely more than 60 minutes and costs only 1199 with certificate included. You can both book an appointment and drop-in.

We offer PCR testing at all our facilities. Prices start from 699 SEK and take between 20 minutes to 12 hours depending on which test you choose.

Rapid Antigen Test

We offer the cheapest rapid test in the Nordic region at all our locations. It takes only 15 minutes to obtain a test results and costs 399 SEK.

No matter what test you need or where you are going, we will help you.

Contact us if you have any questions, or a book an appointment today!