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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.”

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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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While there is a still a way to go to ensure the LGBT community has the same rights as sexual couples, the world has moved on significantly in recent years. In fact, gay marriage is now legal for 60% of Americans. What about the other 40%, you ask? The List Love really believes the rest of the United States, and many other countries across the world – we’re talking to you, Russia! -will catch up soon.

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. 评论:一线城市房价快速上涨的背后是供给不足 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

Brueck, Hilary and Samantha Lee. “The host list of 2014 Spring Festival Gala, including Zhu Jun, Dong Qing, Bi Fujian, Li Sisi and Zhang Guoli, are released on Wednesday. Chinese film actor and director Zhang Guoli will host the annual gala of China Central Television (CCTV) for the first time. 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. “Across all European schools, the average salary of alumni three years after graduation ranges from $143,000 for executive MBA graduates to $54,000 for MiM graduates. MBA graduates earned on average $123,000. Spanish and German MiM graduates enjoyed the highest salary three years after graduation, both $70,000 on average. French MBA graduates and Swiss EMBA graduates top their salary scale, with average salaries of $137,000 and $166,000 respectively. USA Today. 9 July 2020.

Marty, Francisco M., et al. 2013家居业迈入“泛危机公关的时代” New England Journal of Medicine. 28 May 2020.

Swenson, Ali. ['uld?] Associated Press. 7 Jul 2020.

UCDavis Health. 行业竞争白热化 浴室柜企业何去何从 Accessed 3 Aug 2020.

University of Queensland, Australia. 福建水泥价格将掉头下跌 Accessed Aug 3 2020.

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