A member asked:

How fast and reliable is the rapid flu test?

7 doctors weighed in across 2 answers
Dr. Mark Patterson answered

Specializes in Pediatrics

15 minutes: I'm sure it depends somewhat on the brand of the test, but the one we use in our office uses a nasal swab specimen, takes 15 minutes to run, and has a specificity of 95%. Because it is important to treat patients with the flu within 48 hours of onset of symptoms, having a rapid test is very helpful. Better yet, however, is to get a flu vaccine and reduce the risk of getting sick!

Answered 10/15/2018

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Dr. John Leander Po answered

Specializes in Infectious Disease

Clinical judgement: Depending on a number of factors, in an area where lots of people are catching the flu, the sensitivity rapid flu testing can drop below 50%. Therefore, it important that a skilled clinician using their clinical judgement if a pt has obvious symptoms of the flu and the test result is negative- it may likely be a false negative.

Answered 10/15/2018

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