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Can Urgent Care Test for RSV?

Urgent care centers have loads of services available to patients. Interestingly, you can get superior service than your doctor’s office. Physicians in urgent care centers typically order further tests to understand your problem better.

As a primary healthcare provider, a physician can request an RSV test to rule out or establish respiratory-related problems. Urgent care facilities offer other primary care for health concerns like stomach pain, high blood pressure, asthma, and bronchitis.

So, whether you have an infant below six months or an elderly patient above 65 years with a persistent cold, you can have an RSV test done at an urgent care center. Although a cold is non-life-threatening, physicians use medical tests to address other, more serious conditions and offer high-quality care.

Here’s what you need to know about RSV tests.

What is an RSV Test?

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is an infection that affects the respiratory tract, including the lungs, nose, and throat. The RSV test investigates a fluid sample from your nose to see whether the respiratory syncytial virus is responsible for the respiratory infection.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that causes mild and cold-like symptoms. RSV is also very contagious and spreads quickly from one person to the next. Children below six months old or elderly citizens above 65 years old are more prone and are severely affected by the virus.

Even so, RSV patients recover within a week or two apart from patients whose immune system is weak, like young infants or older adults. In addition, RSV is a common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of small airways of the lungs common in young children during winter) and pneumonia.

RSV can lead to severe breathing problems in the following category of patients:

  • Infants and young children

  • Older adults

  • Patients suffering from heart and lung diseases

  • People with weak immune systems

Types of RV Tests that Diagnose RV Infections

Molecular Tests

A molecular test like RT-PCR amplifies bits of viral RNA to detect or analyze an infection. The procedure involves taking a sample from an infected person’s nose or saliva where the virus is found.

The molecular test usually finds smaller volumes of the virus than antigen tests. With that in mind, RT-PCR tests are more applicable to older children and adults who have a smaller viral load in their noses than infants.

Rapid RSV Tests

It’s the most common test used to pick an RSV infection. The RSV test uses a fluid sample of your nose to check for antigens in the RSV virus. Usually, RSV antigens trigger the immune system to attack the virus.

Therefore, the presence of RSV antigen indicates the patient is infected. Unlike molecular antigens, rapid RSV tests produce results within an hour or less.

How an RSV Test is Done

The physician will collect samples from a patient using two methods: nasal swab test or nasal wash. In the nasal wash approach, a healthcare professional inserts saline water and removes it gently.

Under the nasal swab test, a lab assistant will use a special swab to remove a sample from your nose. More importantly, the RSV test should be taken in the first few days after the symptoms appear.

As days progress, the virus levels in the nose reduce, making the test less accurate.

When Do You Need an RSV Test?

If healthy adults or older children get RSV infection, they do not need the test. They have a robust immune system, which means they are only likely to get mild symptoms like runny nose, headaches, or sneezing.

On the contrary, infants below six months and older adults above 65 may need an RSV infection because they develop moderate to severe symptoms. According to the CDC, approximately 80,000 children below five years are hospitalized due to RSV infections.

Here are RSV symptoms that may necessitate a test for infants below six months:

  • Reduced appetite

  • A pause in breathing— more than 10 seconds

  • Acting irritable

  • Decreased activity

Symptoms to look out for in children and adults:

  • Fever

  • Abnormal breathing

  • A severe cough

  • Wheezing

A point to note: If you have RSV but are in good health, your physician may not require you to do an RSV test. Patients with better immune systems recover within 1-2 weeks. To that end, a physician will offer you over-the-counter prescriptions and advise you to take lots of water during your recovery.

Additional Tests Offered at Urgent Care Centres

A physician can request a few tests to better understand the patient's problem. In other instances, a physician may also administer the test to fulfill institutional requirements like pre-employment screening.

Here are a few tests you can find in an urgent care center:


It’s a diagnostic test investigating urine's physical, chemical, and microscopic properties. The urinalysis tests help detect urinary tract infections (UTI), diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, and kidney ailments.

A doctor in an urgent care facility can request a urinalysis if you have a fever with no other symptoms or when experiencing difficulty while urinating.

Drug Screening Tests

Urgent care centers also offer occupational health services like drug screening tests. Drug screening tests help an employer understand whether a prospective employee has a recent drug abuse or addiction history.

Drug tests use urine, hair, blood, or saliva samples to detect the presence of illegal drugs or prescriptions.

Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test

CBC test is also commonly used by physicians in urgent care centers. It measures blood components like red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets to identify medical conditions like anemia, bacteria infection, or allergies.

Try Lifeline Urgent Care RSV Test Today

If you have RSV symptoms with your health condition becoming worse, your doctor may order an RSV test. Luckily, urgent care centers offer the test during RSV outbreaks, a more accessible alternative.

Lifeline Urgent Care Center has a well-equipped clinical lab to save our patients an extra trip to a diagnostic clinic.

Contact Lifeline Urgent Care today or call us at 281.771.1144 for any queries or to book an appointment.

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