How to do rapid flu swab?

Ah, flu season. The time of year when everyone is either sniffling, sneezing or coughing up a storm. What’s the best way to combat the flu? With a rapid flu swab! But what exactly is a rapid flu swab and how do you do it? This article will cover everything you need to know about doing a rapid flu swab.

What Is a Rapid Flu Swab?

A rapid flu swab is an easy and quick test that can determine whether or not someone has the influenza virus. The test involves taking a sample from the nose or throat with a small cotton-tipped applicator and then analyzing that sample for signs of influenza.

Why Should You Get Tested?

Getting tested for influenza can help your doctor determine which treatment options are available to you if you end up being diagnosed with the virus (which nobody wants). Additionally, getting tested can also help prevent further spread of the illness by allowing people who have been infected with influenza to take necessary precautions to avoid spreading it any further.

Preparation for Doing A Rapid Flu Swab

Before we get into how to actually do a rapid flu swab, let’s talk about some preparations that should be made ahead of time:

  • Make sure all materials required – including gloves – are on hand.
  • Encourage children (or anyone nervous) as testing involves just slight discomfort at most.
  • Put on your thinking cap!

With all these preparations in place, let’s move on into looking into step-by-step guideline on how best this task could be executed without much stress involved!

Step-by-Step Guide: How To Do A Rapid Flu Swabs

  1. Ensure Diligent Hand Washing
    1a. Dress In Protective Gear/ Wear Gloves
  2. Patient Preparation
  3. Specimen Collection And Packaging
    4 .Close The Collection Vial Tightly/sharply
  4. Read the results of the test

Step 1: Diligent Hand Washing

Wash your hands thoroughly before starting the swabbing process (we can’t stress this enough!) Wear gloves and promptly discard them after testing patients.

Step 2: Patient Preparation

  • Explain The Process To The Patient
  • Have Them Sit In a Comfortable Position With Head Extended Backwards

It is important to exercise some level of professionalism while explaining this procedure to patient or their significant others, as failure in that regard constitutes a bad experience for all parties involved.

Ask your patient(s) to sit down in a relaxed manner with their head back so you have clear access to their nasal passage/throat when you start collecting samples.

3. Specimen Collection And Packaging:

  • Insert Swab Into Preferred Nasal Passages (nostrils)
  • Remove After Rotating Gently
  • Use tongue depressor/stick applicator and gently collect sample from pharyngeal area.

When inserting swabs into preferred nostril, make sure it’s inserted three-fifths into the cavity but not too far behind where eyeball bulges out. THIS PART IS CRUCIAL! For those squeamish types, here’s how it works:

Step Description
1 Insert A Slightly Bent Tip Of Swab Down Through Nostril Parallel To Bridge Of Nose
2 Rotate Swab around ten times against nasopharynx wall
3 Leave It There For About Five Seconds While Soaking Up Residual Materials And Mucus

Now remove sample collected by rotating backwards at least two times.

Alternatively; Obtain a specimen using small cotton-tipped applicators taking extra care not to touch other parts of patient’s mouth/ throat or saliva prior to collecting a sample.

Once you have the sample, it should be placed inside of a vial with viral transport medium solution. Make sure to securely close the collection vial before moving on to step 5!

Step 4: Close The Collection Vial Tightly/sharply

After placing your collected specimens correctly in its appropriate container, closely make sure it’s well – “popped”/ tightly shut.

Step 5: Read The Results Of The Test

Within an hour after completing these steps, results are usually available indicating whether there is presence of Influenza type Viruses A & B; Nevertheless DO NOT release positive diagnoses without lab confirmation!


Doing a rapid flu swab might seem daunting at first but we hope that this article has provided some guidance and tips on how to perform the test effectively and efficiently! As long as you follow proper procedures along every step outlined here, you’ll successively avoid mix-ups wit inaccurate readings/testing as relates to samples collected.

Stay healthy (and flu-free!) out there folks.

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