Parainfluenza Tests

What is Parainfluenza Testing?

Parainfluenza testing is a laboratory test that helps diagnose parainfluenza virus infections. The test looks for antibodies in your blood or other body fluids, or detection of the virus in nasal or throat secretions. Parainfluenza virus is one of the most common causes of respiratory illness in children.

Preparation for Parainfluenza Test

No special preparation is usually required before taking a parainfluenza test. If you’re having a blood test, tell your doctor or lab technician if you’re taking any other medications, especially an over-the-counter medications that can affect test results.

Procedure of Parainfluenza Test

The parainfluenza test is usually done as part of a comprehensive respiratory panel, or as part of a differential diagnosis to rule out any other respiratory virus or bacterial infection. It can be done by a nasal or throat swab, or by a blood test. In both cases, your healthcare provider will take a sample of your body fluids or tissue and send it to a laboratory for analysis.

Types of Parainfluenza Tests

There are several different types of parainfluenza tests. These include:
  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) – This type of parainfluenza test looks for antibodies in your bloodstream.
  • Polymerase chain reaction tests (PCR) – This test looks for the presence of the virus in your nasal or throat secretions.
  • Viral culture test – This test is used to detect the virus itself and can be done on your nasal or throat secretions.

Risks and Side Effects of Parainfluenza Tests

Most parainfluenza tests are considered safe with very few risks. For example, if you have a nose or throat swab, there’s a small chance of bleeding or infection. As for blood tests, there is a very small risk of infection at the site of the needle prick.

When is a Parainfluenza Test Needed?

Your doctor may suggest a parainfluenza test if you have signs and symptoms of a parainfluenza virus infection. These signs and symptoms include fever, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, congestion, and coughing. It’s important to note that in many cases, the diagnosis of a parainfluenza virus infection is made based on physical exam, symptoms, and other laboratory tests.

Why is a Parainfluenza Test Done?

A parainfluenza test is done to diagnose a parainfluenza virus infection as well as differentiate it from other respiratory illnesses, such as other viral infections or bacterial pneumonia. The diagnosis of a parainfluenza infection is important so that proper treatment can be given in the shortest amount of time.