What to do if you test positive for Covid after symptoms disappear

Even after the fever is gone, the runny nose is dry, the official five-day quarantine period has ended, and the 10-day precautionary phase has ended, some people Tests are still positive For Covid – although feeling totally fine.

If you find yourself in this situation, you may feel confused about what to do, especially since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers few specific guidelines in this regard. It’s hard to know exactly how many people it affects — most people test themselves at home, so their results aren’t tracked — but a pre-vaccine study of Florida schoolchildren in 2020 found that 8.2% of high school kids still had the virus 9-after 14 days after their first positive test.

Even small percentages can affect millions of people, as the total number of cases in the country continues to rise: The United States has passed 85.7 million cases of Covid since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and the number is likely lower because of those present. At home tests.

Here’s what you need to know about this phenomenon, and what to do if it happens to you:

What to do if the test is still positive after 10 days

A positive test for Covid does not necessarily mean that you are contagious. Rapid tests detect specific protein parts of the virus, but these proteins alone do not cause infection. The same goes for PCR tests, which identify the genetic material of the virus in your system.

So, to see if positive tests meant people were contagious, the scientists cultured samples of these tests in Petri dishes to see if more virus could grow, indicating that it was still alive and contagious. A recent study by Boston University, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, used this technique and found that only 17% of people were still infectious six days after their first positive tests.

Unfortunately, there is currently no way to know which category it belongs to. But most experts say that as long as your symptoms are gone, you probably won’t need to be isolated anymore.

The CDC recommends isolating for five days after the first positive test, and ending the quarantine as long as you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours and your symptoms are improving. The agency’s guidelines add that you must continue to wear the mask until the 10th day – basically a precaution in case you’re still contagious.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, says she would “really feel good” with someone emerging asymptomatic after five days of isolation, even if they still tested positive for Covid.

“Follow CDC guidelines and wear a mask for the next five days,” she says.

Dr. Wilbur Lamm, the professor of pediatrics and biomedical engineering who led an Emory University initiative to test Covid-19 diagnoses for the US government, especially recommends avoiding contact with people who may have a compromised immune system, or wearing a mask if you can’t avoid the risks.

“Scientists, including our center, are really trying to figure out what variables might influence why rapid tests stay positive, and what the implications are for both a public health and a biological point of view,” he says.

What a positive test of more than 10 days might mean for your long-term health

Last month, the CDC issued a worrying warning that as many as one in five adults who survive COVID-19 You may develop the Covid virus for a long time, and it is likely to include long-term symptoms from fatigue and brain fog to circulation and digestive problems. Women, the elderly, and those with chronic health conditions appear to be at greater risk.

COVID is not the only pathogen that can cause such problems: Dr. Jeremy Camille, a virologist at Louisiana State University, Shreveport, points out that other viruses, such as HPVs, can damage the body weeks or even years after the initial infection.

More than 10 days of positive tests is not a known risk factor for prolonged Covid-19, but it does raise questions about where the virus might persist. Some viruses have been known to hide in tissues that don’t produce symptoms – like fat cells or the intestines, for example – before reappearing once you think the coast is clear.

By the way, that’s one theory as to why some people test for Covid after 10 days – but for now, it’s just a theory. Experts stress that if you still test positive after the one-and-a-half week period is over, you probably don’t have to worry: It’s important to take precautions, but you’re less likely to harm yourself or those around you by ending your isolation.

This will remain true unless other research proves otherwise.

“I would just say, ‘We don’t even know enough to be concerned,'” Lamm says. “There are a lot of things to worry about in your life, and this doesn’t have to be one of them.”

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