Errors you should avoid when doing the Covid-19 home test

Errors you should avoid when doing the Covid-19 home test

If you need to know if you have coronavirus and want to avoid long lines at testing centers or health centers, a home test for covid-19 can be a convenient solution, but to get the correct results you will have to avoid making certain mistakes.

Home tests — also known as self-tests or over-the-counter tests — are one of several measures that can reduce the chances of spreading the coronavirus because they detect current infections, not antibodies to the virus, and can be done easily and quickly at home or anywhere else, regardless of your vaccination status.

Most self-tests are rapid antigen tests, which may be less sensitive than PCR tests done in clinics or laboratories. And while some home tests are PCR, antigen versions are much more common and accessible.

Sometimes the home test can show invalid results or errors that, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, for its acronym in English), can occur for various reasons, either because they are not sample was taken correctly or because the test was not working properly.

And while invalid results are rare, here are some errors flagged by the CDC that can be easily avoided.

Prepare for the test

Before you take the test, clean the surface you will be taking the test on, whether it’s a desk or table. Then wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Have a timer ready as the CDC recommends reading test results “only within the time frame listed in the manufacturer’s instructions.”

If you don’t follow the instructions, the test results may be incorrect or invalid or may say “error”. If this occurs, due to improper use or test malfunction, consult the package inserts for information or contact the manufacturer for assistance.

Use the swab as directed

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned against the use of throat swabs for home COVID-19 tests and indicated that people should use the tests according to the instructions .

This happened because some people started using the antigen test swabs, intended for nasal swabs, to swab their throats.

“The test is designed for the collection of samples that they describe in the instructions, so any deviation from that will not get the expected results,” said Dr. Emily Volk, president of the College of American Pathologists.

In addition to not obtaining the expected results, the FDA indicated that when the swabs are used incorrectly they could also cause harm to the patient. The CDC recommends that throat swabs be collected by a trained health care provider.

Make sure the test is certified and not expired

Given the high demand and low supply of home tests for covid-19, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned earlier this year about the online sale of fraudulent home tests to desperate customers.

“Using these fake products is not only a waste of money, it increases the risk of unknowingly spreading COVID-19 or not receiving proper treatment,” the FTC said.

To spot a fake test kit, buy only FDA-approved tests, check the list of fraudulent covid-19 products, and compare credible sellers and reviews from sources like doctors or health organizations. we show you how to spot fake tests.

Upon opening the box, check the proof for damage or discoloration according to the manufacturer’s description. The CDC advises against using tests that are expired, damaged, or that appear discolored.

Ben Oakley
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