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Swabbing Your Stool for COVID Probably Won’t Give You an Accurate Result, Experts Say

For years, swabbing your nose has been the tried-and-true method to test for COVID—but is it possible that users on X (formerly Twitter) have found a more effective method?

According to X user NurseKelsey, swabbing your poop instead of your nose might be the best way to get an accurate COVID diagnosis.

“Swabbed my cheek + nose: negative,” she wrote in her X post, published on January 31. “Swabbed my stool, per Twitter suggestion: positive.” That post has garnered more than 4,600 likes and has been seen by more than 450,000 people.

“I had three rapid tests & a doctor’s office (nasal) PCR all negative today,” she continued. “Don’t trust nasal swabs! Pro tip: test your stool!”

But while most X users seemed to be appreciative of NurseKelsey’s tip, experts aren’t convinced swabbing your excrement is the way to go for an accurate COVID diagnosis.

“The current at-home COVID-19 antigen self tests are not designed to detect SARS-CoV-2 proteins in stool, leaving any positive or negative result using a stool sample in doubt,” Mark Cameron, PhD, associate professor and infectious disease researcher at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, told Health in a statement.

Here’s what experts had to say about swabbing stool to test for COVID, and how to ensure you’re testing for COVID safely and effectively.

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