DNA testing: a fast new way to diagnose the common cold

DNA testing: a fast new way to diagnose the common cold

Many patients ask us if there’s anything new to help the common cold. Yes, there’s finally a faster, more accurate test using the latest in DNA technology!

This is great news as upper respiratory infections are so prevalent. In fact, the third most common presenting symptom in a primary care office is a cough. Each year, kids have up to five colds and adults have two or three. This causes aggravation, wasted time, multiple doctor visits, unnecessary antibiotics and so on.

Certainly some patients do need an antibiotic but viruses are the most common cause of upper respiratory symptoms – about 90% of the time.

There’s finally something new to help the diagnosis that uses DNA testing. It’s faster and more comprehensive than other tests. Sure doctors have had rapid strep tests and influenza tests available for immediate diagnosis but now we can accurately tell if antibiotics are needed or not. The DNA test will look for about 13 other viruses besides strep and the flu.

Dr. Bloom’s explains:

The simple nasal swab test is sent to a local lab and results are typically back in 24 hours. More and more doctors offices will likely start using this DNA test.

Next time you or a family member has the onset of cold symptoms, consider asking about the DNA nasal swab test instead of asking for antibiotics. Or instead of assuming it’s a virus and waiting another week to be certain.

Of course don’t forget about the importance of staying very well hydrated when you’re ill. Frequent hand washing is also important to prevent the spread of illness to others, but should also be performed when you’re healthy to avoid becoming infected by others who are sick.

Additionally, check out Dr. Bloom’s tips to stay healthy during travel.

Contact your PersonalCare Physician to learn more or simply leave a comment on this post with any questions.