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Nasal Swab

Pacific Clinical Labs

COVID Testing Site located in Santa Monica, CA

Though it’s one of the best ways to test for COVID-19, most people cringe at the idea of a nasal swab. If you need a COVID test, but you’re anxious about the nasal swab, book with Pacific Clinical Labs in Santa Monica, California. The team offers gentle, quick, and professional nasal swabbing in-office or at your home. With a nasal swab, the practice can accurately determine whether or not you have COVID-19 within 12 hours. To find out more, reach out online or over the phone today.

Nasal Swab Q & A

What is a nasal swab COVID test?

Nasal swab COVID tests are a type of PCR molecular test. They use nasal swabs to collect mucus from your body to test for the virus’s genetic material.

To collect a sample using a nasal swab, your Pacific Clinical Labs team first instructs you to tilt your head back about 70 degrees. They then gently insert the swab, which is about six inches long, into the space between your nose and mouth. 

There, your provider rotates the swab for 15 seconds. They then repeat this on the other side of your nose, in order to make sure that they have a large enough sample to test. 

Once they finish this, they take the sample to the practice’s in-house laboratory and test it. Your results come back in 6-12 hours.

How do you test nasal swabs?

In order to test your collected nasal swab sample for the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, Pacific Clinical Labs follows a few specific steps at its in-house lab.


First, your team mixes your nasal swab in a chemical solution. The solution contains a mixture of chemicals that extract the genetic material (RNA) of any virus present.

RNA conversion

Next, the practice uses chemicals called primers and probes, along with a specialized machine, to convert the virus’s RNA into DNA. 

Once they have the DNA, your team makes millions of copies, so that they can thoroughly test it.

DNA binding

If your sample contains SARS-CoV-2 DNA, it will bind to certain probes. When this happens, the chemical emits a light that the machine can detect. 


If the machine detects this light, it registers your result as positive. If it doesn’t, it registers your result as negative. Once they have the results, your team reaches out to you with this determination.

Do nasal swabs hurt?

Getting a nasal swab isn’t fun. However, though they get a bad rep, most people say that nasal swabs aren’t really that painful. Instead, when you get your swab, expect to feel some pressure and/or mild to moderate discomfort.

You may also experience brief, minor reactions like:

  • Gagging
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • A burning sensation in your nose

Please note that some people are more pain sensitive, and may experience a higher level of discomfort than others. In addition, some people experience lingering irritation or light nose bleeding after the test. This typically goes away quickly.

Though they can be uncomfortable, nasal swabs are a quick and effective way to get answers if you think you may have COVID-19.

If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, get tested today. To schedule your nasal swab, reach out to Pacific Clinical Labs online or over the phone.