Can you refuse throat swab and have extra nasal swabbing instead?

(51 Posts)
NeuroticKindofNormal Thu 10-Sep-20 20:40:11

I'm sure I'll get a brutal roasting here but anyway, I'm braving it.

There is not a single chance anyone would be able to get near me with a throat swab. I'd need sedating into a stupor, a GA maybe.

I grew up in a country that routinely swabs sore throats. I had a lot of sore throats. Memories of being held down kicking and screaming by doctors and nurses.

My gag reflex is awful, I can't even cope with the wooden stick doctors use in your mouth to help when you say 'ahhhh' so they can look in. I learned quick to get my tongue right down to avoid that one.

I'm also VERY emetophobic so even without the childhood swab trauma I'd be shitting myself about anything that could make me gag.

I realise this all sounds ridiculous, and it is I suppose, but phobias aren't rational, and here we are. I'm far more terrified of a test than I am actually getting the virus.

Shove a swab in any other orifice- I don't care. Take my blood, take a biopsy, do anything you like just don't try and put things in my mouth 😫🙈

So yeah, can you insist on just having the nasal thing? I work in a secondary school, it's only a matter of time before I end up needing to be tested, and I'm losing sleep over it.

(I'm pretty sure I read on here that the nasal swab can make you gag too- if you are about to leap on here to point that out, please don't! Ignorance is bliss and right now I feel like I could absolutely cope with a nasal swab).

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Pamelaaaaa Thu 10-Sep-20 20:45:44

The home test we had yesterday for dd said if you can't get a throat swab to do both nostrils instead of just one. I know they do have more than 1 home testing kit circulating though and have no idea if the rules are the same for all of them.

NeuroticKindofNormal Thu 10-Sep-20 20:53:48

Ooooh! That sounds very promising, thank you @Pamelaaaaa!! Hope your home test went well and that your DD isn't too poorly.

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Tootletum Thu 10-Sep-20 20:55:35

The instructions for kids said both nostrils instead of throat if you couldn't get at the tonsils. Which of course I couldn't.

NeuroticKindofNormal Thu 10-Sep-20 21:02:08


The instructions for kids said both nostrils instead of throat if you couldn't get at the tonsils. Which of course I couldn't.

A youthful-ish 42 could pass for a child, right?

I guess for home tests they aren't going to know where you got the sample from anyway? And if I did a VERY thorough deep nostril job it might be ok?

This is very reassuring, thank you.

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SquishySquirmy Thu 10-Sep-20 21:06:14

I went to a drive through where you had to do it to yourself. I am a bit squeamish about things going up my nose and I actually didn't mind doing it to myself too much, would have been worse to have someone else do it I think.
Do you think a throat swab would be easier if you were in control?
You might be OK to just do the nose swabs in your situation and not the throat. It is the same stick that does both.

The nose swab doesn't make you gag by the way. It goes at most a few cm up your nose so not deep enough to make you gag.

Augustbreeze Thu 10-Sep-20 21:08:47

Most test centres are DIY as it were so no one's going to know what you've done. How good the sample will be, I don't know and is there any point in testing if you're not going to the place where the virus is? (No idea if throat more likely than nostril but get impression it might be?)


WhispersOfWickedness Thu 10-Sep-20 21:12:08

I feel the same as you, OP, although I don't have the same traumatic background, just run of the mill emetophobia!
I am fairly sure that both nostrils can be done instead and that's what I'd be pushing for smile

Marmite27 Thu 10-Sep-20 21:15:58

I’ve got a terrible gag reflex, I’ve been known to gag on toothbrushes and lollipops.

I had it done a few weeks ago during an unexpected hospital stay with DC2. Who as well as being my second child is currently 2. They had to have one too (throat and nose) and didn’t even blink. I really had to fight the urge to step back when it went up my nose, but I was fine with the throat.

A nurse did ours though, rather than it being diy.

Wishfulthinking1977 Thu 10-Sep-20 21:18:44

I have the other way here op! My ds (if testing was needed) can't have anything up his nose! Even a slight touch inside gives him massive nosebleeds for up to an hour! Not sure how we would deal if he ever needed one?! Xx

Lockdownseperation Thu 10-Sep-20 21:19:17

Nhs video said for under 11s you can just do two nostrils. No one watches you do it at the drive through centre. I don’t know how accurate the results would be.

yolio Thu 10-Sep-20 21:21:01

We need a saliva test pronto. I'd be sick all over the tester if they went to the back of my throat.

Same issue in the dentist ugh. Horrible feeling having someone poking around in your mouth. Impressions are the absolute worst.

But we are all different and avoidance is a good tactic for me re impressions in the dentist lol. Can't be put off forever, so will need a hefty valium tablet or a mallet over the head to fix my dodgy crown now.

Lockdownseperation Thu 10-Sep-20 21:23:28

@yolio you do it yourself. I have a really strong gag reflex and I can’t swallow tablets as a result of this but I managed the test OK. Using one finger to hold down your tongue helps.

toiletpaper Thu 10-Sep-20 21:25:16

Myself and DS10 had a throat swab yesterday and I said to my friend that I'd rather have bloods taken than another throat swab as it was that bad, so I can't blame you at all OP. Poor DS was worse than me.

toiletpaper Thu 10-Sep-20 21:25:55


*@yolio* you do it yourself. I have a really strong gag reflex and I can’t swallow tablets as a result of this but I managed the test OK. Using one finger to hold down your tongue helps.

Not always the case, I had a nursing auxiliary do mine yesterday.

pintsizeprincess Thu 10-Sep-20 21:25:57

I did a home test a few weeks ago and found it impossible to swab my throat without gagging. I just couldn't do it. I tried a few times without success .

So I just did the nostrils swab ( just did one nostril) and sent off the test fully expecting it to come back inconclusive. However, either I managed to scrape my throat by the tiniest amount or just doing the nostril swab was sufficient as it came back as a result . I seem to remember another poster saying that you don't need to stick the swab down too far, that's its usually enough to scrape your tonsils even briefly.

Batshitbeautycosmeticsltd Thu 10-Sep-20 21:42:07

I don't have tonsils to touch, they were removed when I was a child. What do they do then?

ceeveebee Thu 10-Sep-20 21:42:15

I couldn’t get my DD to let me do the throat swab, she was gagging and crying and so I just did both nostrils and test results came back fine (ie negative, rather than “inconclusive” which is what I’d feared)

ceeveebee Thu 10-Sep-20 21:43:31


I don't have tonsils to touch, they were removed when I was a child. What do they do then?

It says in the instructions to swab where your tonsils would have been

10milewalk Thu 10-Sep-20 22:12:53

The thought of either test fills me with dread, I couldn't cope with the nose or throat, hope they come up with something better. I'm sure I heard about a kind of spit test, that I could manage.

Toastycornflakes Thu 10-Sep-20 22:21:39

You can do both nostrils. We had to for dd because she was hysterical about the throat swab. It came back negative which I was expecting. I don’t think it would matter if an adult did the test in both nostrils instead of nostril and throat

TheClitterati Thu 10-Sep-20 22:35:04

You don't sound ridiculous OP.

Throat swab sounds innocent enough but for a lot of people, me included, it's really really difficult to do especially on ourselves. I couldn't do it to myself. I also couldn't do it on my youngest child. My eldest child had no problems doing it to herself and she ended up doing me as well. I have no memory of those few seconds - I've just blocked it out completely. I didn't even know in the minutes after she done it that it has been done. All very weird - we do need an alternative.

polkadotpixie Thu 10-Sep-20 23:05:16

I'm part of a COVID study at work (NHS) so I have swabs every fortnight and they only ever swab my nostrils so I'm sure you'll be fine just doing that

Torvean32 Thu 10-Sep-20 23:44:23

A nose swab will not make you gag. Theyre nowhere long enough to have that effect. So im sure you'll be ok with it.

NeuroticKindofNormal Fri 11-Sep-20 07:14:25

Thank you so much for all the lovely, kind, supportive, and understanding replies!!!!

You have all helped me relax loads about it! Thank you SO much! thanks

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