Their appearance was made during the Christmas holidays, when being able to take a swab in the pharmacy, at the family doctor or in the analysis laboratories meant having to face long lines and several hours of waiting so high was the demand from citizens. . So the pharmacies themselves started selling the tamponi “fai-da-te”. Nothing irregular but all authorized by the Ministry of Health to the point that today the tests can also be purchased in tobacconists on average for 6.90 euros. But there is a problem that both family doctors and pharmacists denounce: these tools designed to “deflate” the pressure on the request for analysis are short-circuiting the system for verifying and ascertaining the positives. The reason? In two out of three cases the result of a home swab is wrong, especially if it gives a negative result. And it does not derive from the swab itself, which as a device is similar to that used by doctors and pharmacists, but from how the sample is taken from the citizen.
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“They were borrowed from us – explains Alberto Chiriatti, deputy regional secretary of Fimmg Lazio, the Italian Federation of General Practitioners – that in the face of a symptomatology attributable to Covid, fever or cold, or even without suffering from anything and therefore for a mere purpose of control, they carried out the swab at home alone, proving negative when they were positive ». This was because the analysis was not done correctly. “The problem with the positive does not exist – adds Ombretta Papa, a family doctor who covers a large area of Rome, from Corso Francia to Torre Angela – the trouble takes over for those who are negative at home but have actually contracted the virus”. Few are the people who scrupulously decide to get a new tampon anyway either in the pharmacy or at the doctor. “Most users – continues Chiriatti – when they see that it is not positive, leave it alone but this creates enormous problems, starting with the lack of isolation”.
Basically there are unknown positives, perhaps asymptomatic, which circulate undisturbed. “The other problem – concludes the regional deputy secretary of Fimmg Lazio – concerns the following procedure: if a citizen who tests himself at home is positive, he must still perform a new swab either by the doctor or in the pharmacy or in the analysis laboratories or even in the drive-ins because it must be inserted in the counting and tracing system since the “do-it-yourself” buffer simply has a diagnostic validity ». Criticisms also come from Federfarma: “We have always advised against the” do-it-yourself “tampon from the beginning – explains Alfredo Procaccini, vice president of the Pharmacists’ Association – because despite being valid as a tool, the operator or the citizen , fails to perform it in 90% of cases as does a nurse, a healthcare professional, a doctor, a pharmacist and then, no matter how good he is at performing the test, he skips the tracking ».
The self-test, it was explained, bursts onto the scene at a time when the demand for tampons was at an all time high. “If you really want to do it – concludes Procaccini – you must strictly follow the directions”. That is to enter with the swab all the way down to the nasal septum, keeping the swab parallel to the floor and the head slightly tilted back, turn the swab in each nostril at least 5-6 times, then insert it into the reagent and then onto the reading stick respecting the waiting times. Finally, the whole procedure should be performed with clean hands or wearing latex gloves.