It’s enough to make you gag.
Getting tested for the coronavirus is far more difficult and uncomfortable than swabbing for the common flu, doctors and medical experts told The Post.
“You’re sticking a swab all the way to the back of the nose or throat and it’s uncomfortable for maybe five or 10 seconds,” said Dr. Lewis Kohl, a director of CareMount Medical in New York.
Flu samples, by contrast, are easily taken from the mouth, he said.
Before being tested for the deadly virus, patients must first answer a series of questions, including whether they have been to Wuhan, China — the epicenter of the outbreak — are experiencing shortness of breath, or have been exposed to someone with the virus, Kohl said.
If a doctor determines a patient to be “a person under suspicion” for the virus, a nasal or throat swab is then performed to obtain a sample.
In rare cases, doctors may also try to get mucus from hard-to-reach parts of the respiratory tract, which may involve intubation or spraying saline mist into the lungs, Kohl said.
“If there’s not enough of [a sample] we might need to go deeper,” he said. “The saline is a really salty fluid that causes you to bring up sputum — big yellow goobers deep in your lungs.”
Asian airline crew members wear masks as they arrive at their New York City hotel, Feb. 12, 2020. (Dom Calicchio/Fox News)
“That can be unpleasant because you’re forcing someone to inhale this nasty stuff,” he added.
Dr. William Haseltine, a US-China Health Summit chair and former Harvard Medical School professor, added that the more invasive respiratory testing is only conducted in cases when doctors determine “somebody can’t provide sample results with the more standard tests.”
Samples are then sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be tested.
The coronavirus — also known as COVID-19 — has killed at least 1,370 people in China and infected more than 48,000.
There are 15 confirmed cases in the US, but no fatalities.