Medical testing can be uncomfortable and invasive, preventing people from getting the diagnostic assistance they need. Saliva collection kits remove the need for drawing blood or collecting urine.
The latest saliva collection kits are convenient, accurate, and easy to use, so health care providers are turning to them for a variety of medical needs.
How Saliva Testing Works
Health care providers collect saliva to diagnose diseases and test for medical conditions like COVID-19. This safe and convenience testing solution benefits the patient and provider, because it is not invasive or painful.
The test kits include a plastic or glass tube to hold the saliva sample. Most collection tubes have a screw-on cap to keep the sample from leaking. The provider collects the sample with an oral swab or an oropharyngeal swab. An oral swab has a sponge-like device that soaks up saliva, and the oropharyngeal swab has a long stick to gather saliva from the back of the throat.
All kits include detailed instructions and a transport container to deliver the sample to the lab. Some have cold packs to prevent the sample from becoming spoiled.
How to Collect the Saliva Sample
As with any medical procedure, it’s important to wash your hands first, then wear personal protective equipment like latex gloves. Then, open the collection container and prepare it to hold the sample. Using the swab, gather the sample by rubbing the swab along the inside of the gums or the back of the throat. Finally, store the sample in the collection device, seal it, and send it to the lab.
Saliva samples should be tested immediately or stored at or below freezing to test them later. Samples can be stored for up to 90 minutes at room temperature. Frozen samples can be stored for days to years depending on the temperature, but they must be tested immediately after being thawed.
Benefits of Using Saliva Tests
Saliva tests have several benefits, making them a popular choice in many health care settings.
Saliva tests are a better choice to use with children and people who are afraid of needles.
Can be used at home
Patients can use saliva tests at home, so they do not have to visit a medical facility. This feature benefits patients with limited mobility or who need routine tests for drug use or other reasons.
Because saliva tests use swabs, patients and providers do not have to worry about infection risks from needles and blood. Being able to administer the test at home also makes them safe.
The samples collected in a saliva test can help medical providers learn about a variety of issues. Providers use saliva tests for genetic testing, drug testing, and diagnostic needs.
They are a low cost option so patients can use them for routine drug tests. They are also a good choice for patients who do not have health insurance.
Easy to Transport
The equipment used for saliva tests make the samples easy to transport, which makes the testing process more efficient and accurate. Some have preservatives and others can be frozen for long term storage.