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Your Healthy Family: COVID-19 swab, not as bad as I was expecting

Posted at 3:28 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 17:35:48-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Have you had a COVID-19 test? I hadn’t until recently and was very unsure about what to expect. No, I haven’t been sick, thankfully, but had to be tested for other reasons. The same might be true for you: Your employer might require it, or you may need to test if you have been in close contact with some with COVID-19. Or you may need it for travel. The bottom line: It's a new reality, and with the pandemic still in our midst, more people likely will be tested at some point.

My test came about because I’m participating in a multi-day bike ride for charity. Plans for the SHIELD616 Border to Border bicycle ride across Colorado were set when the pandemic broke out earlier this year. The team had been monitoring CDC and state guidelines closely to see if we could safely hold this fundraiser for first responders. Yes, we will be wearing masks and socially distancing at public events, but on a four-day ride across the state, this group of 35 people becomes more of a large family than a cycling team so there are going to be times when we will be in close contact to some degree or another.

It was decided the team would test for COVID a few days before the ride and then follow strict COVID mitigation practices.

UCHealth donated testing to SHIELD616 and while new testing methods are being developed, I will wear it as a badge of courage that I had the nasopharyngeal swab COVID-19 test.

Before having my test, I had heard a range of experiences from others, from ‘it wasn’t too bad’ to ‘it was the worst thing ever.’ I can honestly say for me it was pretty quick and painless. The swab in your nostril induces coughing or sneezing, which felt very uncomfortable to me with a health care worker in close proximity to my face – albeit her being well-shielded - but she was very kind and reassured me that it was OK to cough and sputter a bit. I personally would rank a strep throat culture as a worse experience. It’s like trying to hold still, while someone tickles you.

So if a COVID test is in your future, just try to relax, hold your breath and it will be over before you know it. The testing through UCHealth’s patient portal could not have been easier or more convenient.

UCHealth is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family