You’re tired of the long lines and appointments for COVID-19 swab testing — we get it. On top of that, you have to wait for another few days in suspense to get your results. It would be convenient if you could get swabbed whenever, wherever, right? That’s why Robin Padilla took to social media to show everyone how it’s done.
Getting a nasal swab test isn’t as easy as taking your own temperature. Anyone who has tried it will say that it’s an uncomfortable procedure, one where you’ll be trying your best not to flick the healthcare worker’s arm away. Tests like that require professional help. So why did Padilla try it? Is self-swabbing even safe?
Robin Padilla’s ‘self-service swab’ video makes rounds online
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Padilla showed everyone how he and his team did a self-antigen test before work. The video caption said that it was already 6 AM but their nurse is nowhere to be found. Since they can’t delay work, he and his crew did the swabbing themselves.
“Hindi dahilan sa mga mandaragat ang walang nurse, kailangan isagawa ang covid test,” said Padilla. “Basta isaksak mo ang swab stick hanggang sa dulo at makiliti mo ang utak mo, at kapag naluha kana tsaka mo iikot ng 5 hanggang 8 segundo yun na raw yun.”
The video also showed he was with a few other guys who were attempting to do the same thing.
It earns mixed reactions from netizens
Padilla has been the receiving end of a lot of criticism for the past few months. This self-swabbing video is just the latest. Some netizens think he shouldn’t be doing the procedure on himself since he isn’t a professional. Others say that it’s a perfectly normal thing to do since, after all, some countries allow self-swabbing.
Is self-swabbing possible?
Yes, it is. And it’s safe, too — if done properly.
In other countries like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and Japan let patients do their own swabbing. It could be supervised by a healthcare worker or even done at home. In fact, self-swabbing can help minimize exposure to the virus of both the healthcare worker and the patient. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even released step-by-step instructions on how to perform a swab test on your own.
Where can you get a self-administered test kit in the Philippines?
Self-swab COVID-19 kits aren’t too popular yet in the Philippines. The Department of Health (DOH) even released a statement back in February 2021.
“To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the Philippines has not approved any self-administered test kits. The DOH cautions the public against sellers who claim to sell such products and strongly urges the immediate reporting of such to the FDA,” said the statement.
One month later, on March 2021, DOH clarified the rapid antigen test procedure in the country. “Only qualified licensed healthcare professionals in local health offices, health facilities, accredited quarantine, and isolation facilities, and certified COVID-19 confirmatory laboratory facilities are authorized to administer rapid antigen tests and interpret its results.”
Not everyone can do self-swabbing
Self-swabbing is safe if you’re prepared to do the procedure on yourself. But the thing is, not everyone can do it and not everyone is comfortable doing it. You might be thinking, it’s just a stick you insert in your nose and throat, how difficult is that? You could actually hurt yourself in the process or poke too hard. Plus, it will take longer than the usual 15 seconds for swabbing if you’re new at it.
Don’t do it if you don’t know the proper procedure
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In the video, there were a few mistakes anyone can notice. For one, Padilla wasn’t using gloves during the procedure and he didn’t clarify if he washed his hands. And he and his group were swabbing right next to each other with the materials laid out in front of them, placed on a table. So if one of them were positive, others could easily contract the disease.
After netizens’ mixed reactions, Padilla took to social media once again to post about the matter. He said that if you can’t perform the swab on yourself, don’t do it. According to him, things like that are better left for people who are used to getting swabbed.
“Tanggapin niyo man po o hindi sadyang may mga taong katulad namin na hindi pa baby, hindi aasa na lang sa magaganap,” he continued. “Kaya hindi tayo umaasenso mga kabayani, malakas ang loob natin sa katarantaduhan at kawalanghiyaan pero kapag sa kapakanan ng sarili at ng mga kasama sa paligid mo ang dami natin NGAW NGAW kesa sa gawa.”
But as much as possible, leave the swabbing to professionals
The proper swab test procedure involves steps that only a professional health care worker can perform on another person.
First, the person doing the nasal swabbing on you will get a long stick with a soft brush attached at the end. They will insert it on your nose and twist it around for a few seconds. To those who haven’t experienced swab testing before, this isn’t your regular inserting-items-in-my-nose situation. That long stick will reach deep into your nasal walls to the back of your throat to collect the proper specimen. Once that’s done, you’ll have to experience it again but this time, the stick will go in your mouth to reach the back of your throat.
Professionals know where to swab and twist their
torture device to get the sample. Most regular citizens like you and I don’t, which is why if you want to attempt self-swabbing, you should do you research on how to do it safely.
In conclusion, Robin Padilla wasn’t exactly wrong
The guy might be a little too over-the-top about certain things, but his self-swabbing wasn’t actually anything out of the ordinary. Because the DOH has only authorized professionals to administer swab tests, he may have been overstepping some boundaries, but self-swabbing is already the norm in other countries.
How about you? Would you be willing to try self-swabbing?