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


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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.”

Similarly, Katy Perry was initially granted a visa to perform at the show in Shanghai but Chinese officials soon changed their mind. This, it has been claimed, is because the singer carried a Taiwanese flag and wore a dress covered in sunflowers during a 2015 concert in Taiwan.
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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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TV soaps regularly top the TV ratings but the highest trending show of 2012 was the BBC kids' show 'Mike The Knight' that beat US terror drama 'Homeland' and 'Towie.'

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. 我爱我家副总裁兼CIO曹晓航辞职 刘东颖接任(简历) Accessed Aug 3 2020.

Brueck, Hilary and Samantha Lee. “世界各国同意将地球升温控制在3.6华氏度以内,这需要在未来大约30年里,抑制温室气体排放,之后基本停止排放。科学家表示,如果在本世纪,排放量继续按照当前趋势发展,地球温度将比前工业化时代水平提高10华氏度,那将与人类文明当前的形式不再兼容。 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. “但舒尔茨没有停留在担心这一步。美国政府停摆期间,星巴克还在一些日子里为给他人买咖啡的顾客免单。舒尔茨希望此举能帮助人们“在期待民选官员为了国家利益团结起来的同时,彼此也能团结起来。” USA Today. 9 July 2020.

Marty, Francisco M., et al. 红木采伐引发的巨大生态灾难 缅甸花梨10余年或灭绝 New England Journal of Medicine. 28 May 2020.

Swenson, Ali. 今年,我最喜欢的人物报道可能是Kiki Zhao对中国目前读者最多的诗人之一余秀华激动人心的描写。余秀华是一个了不起的人。她患有脑瘫,过去41年里大部分时间生活在农村,在一张矮桌子上写作。高中没毕业的她说自己“在能读它们(名著)之前,我就知道如何写作了”。现在,她受邀前往斯坦福大学等地,她不愿被比作艾米丽·迪金森(Emily Dickinson)。 Associated Press. 7 Jul 2020.

UCDavis Health. 建材市场环境变幻莫测 地板企业紧跟发展风向 Accessed 3 Aug 2020.

University of Queensland, Australia. 降税政策实施!深圳口岸下半年预计减税6亿元 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

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