How To Collect A Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimen

How To Collect A Nasopharyngeal Swab Specimen

The Nasopharyngeal Swabs are mostly used to collect specimens to diagnose or check the Covid-19. The global pandemic that shook the world in 2020, saw a significant increase in the usage of these swabs. However, they are also used to diagnose other illnesses that are related to the respiratory system.

Fortunately, you don’t have to take serious precautionary measures when using the nasopharyngeal swabs, because they don’t cause any harm. However, there are a few cases where senior doctors and clinicians should be consulted. For instance, if the patient has nasal problems, senior sinus issues, a history of blocked nasal passages, or anything similar, you shouldn’t use nasal swabs without any precautions.

How To Prepare For The Procedure

Nasopharyngeal swabs have long and flexible shafts made of various materials like polyester, plastic, or nylon. In some cases, it’s metal as well. When you’re about to start the procedure, you will need to have the complete personal protective equipment to wear, which includes gloves, masks, face shields, gowns, and the right footwear. Before starting also make sure that all your tubes are labeled and you make the patient sign all the necessary forms before starting.
It is very important to follow the necessary precautionary measures that are told by the CDC (centers for disease control and prevention) for using the PPE. Always start by putting on the gown and then wash your hands with liquid soap thoroughly and then wear gloves. The next step should be to wear the protective mask, N95 is recommended. Finish up by putting on the face shield.


The Main Procedure

When testing a Covid-19 patient, make sure the patient comes wearing a mask. Start the procedure by telling the patient to take off their mask and put all their force in blowing their nose out on a tissue to clear the nasal passages. Take out the swab and tilt the patient’s head backward subtly, so that the nasal passages become visible. Let the patient close their eyes and then easily insert the swab into the septum that is just above the base of the nasal passage till the nasopharynx.
Make sure the swab that goes into the nostril moves parallel to the palate, and as soon as you feel the swab isn’t moving smoothly, pull it back immediately and try inserting it from a different angle. You can get a little close to the base to try a different, safer approach. The reach of the swab should be at par with the distance of the patient’s nostrils to their opening of the ear. Once you have safely inserted the swab, leave it there for a few seconds, allowing it to absorb all the secretions. Remove the swab slowly in circular motions. Some senior doctors also recommend that you should rotate the swab when inserted, several times before removing it for more accurate results. Once the whole thing is done, ask the patient to put their masks back on again.



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